During the last two years, the Identity and Passport Service has introduced a range of procedures and systems to help prevent identity and passport fraud. In 2006, the biometric passport was launched.
The biometric passport has a new design and improved security features which were not present on previous passports. The new pages have intricate designs, complex watermarks and a chip antenna.
The new style passport contains a chip on which the passport holders photograph and personal information is recoded - the same information that is printed on page 31 of the passport.
The idea behind the new design is that it would be difficult for criminals to forge or clone your passport with the new security features in place. If the passport is not genuine or has been tampered with, government agencies will be able to detect any wrong doing. The facial biometrics on the chip will help link the passport holder to the passport.
The chip in the new biometric passport is one of many new security features in place to help fight passport fraud and forgery. It is protected in the following three ways:
Although generally computer chips can be cloned it is unlikely that a new style passport could be copied or forged by using cloning methods. Nothing can be deleted or changed on your chip which is what is needed to forge a passport.
Therefore it is unlikely that any attempt would be made to clone the passport as any copy or clone would still hold the original passport holder's information (as printed on page 31 of the passport) rendering the obvious differences between the two to be immediately noticed by officials.
Your current passport will remain valid until its expiry date. You will not need to exchange your passport to a biometric passport, but should apply for a new passport in good time as and when your current passport expires. It is best to allow three to four weeks for a passport application.
Unlikely. Most UK citizens will not be required change a digital passport for a biometric replacement. Please note the following:
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