What Is a Biometric Passport?

A biometric passport (or ePassport) is more advanced than a traditional passport. It has more security features, such as an embedded microchip with the passport holder’s personal details.

Holders of a biometric passport can use ePassport gates at border control, making entry faster and easier.

What Does Biometric Passport Mean?

A biometric passport is a modern passport that can be scanned electronically. It has a microchip that contains the holder’s information.

The embedded microchip in an ePassport makes forgery difficult and it is easier to detect identity fraud at border control.

The information stored in the microchip has to be authenticated through secure procedures and policies. Its security features also prevent unauthorized reading of the passport holder’s personal information.

How Do I Know if I Have a Biometric Passport?

A biometric passport looks just like a traditional passport. The microchip in the cover is so small that it is undetectable.

The difference is that it includes a small gold camera symbol at the bottom of the front cover. If your passport has this symbol, then it is an ePassport.

Some countries differ slightly in their requirements, but biometric passports are generally the same.

What are the Benefits of a Biometric Passport?

There are numerous benefits to traveling with a biometric passport, such as:

  • Faster entry at border control
  • Secure identification
  • Fraud prevention
  • Protection of privacy

It is an effective identification document that over 120 countries have now adopted.

Traveling With an ePassport

Some countries require certain travelers to have a biometric passport. For example, if you enter the US using the ESTA, under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), without an ePassport you will be refused entry into the country. You can always check with your local embassy if you are unsure of travel rules.

Using your ePassport

For countries that have ePassport gates at border control, you simply need to scan your passport at the gate and it will check your data and confirm your identity using facial recognition.

Arrival in other countries will have the same process as non-ePassport holders, where a border control official will check your passport.