Biometric passports have slowly been replacing traditional passports and for good reason. These passports, also known as E-passports, are much harder for fraudsters to copy and the information they are able to store makes for quicker and smoother border entries.
Biometric passports are increasingly becoming an essential requirement for certain travelers, such as Chinese citizens traveling to the U.S. with EVUS. You will see that the EVUS application form requires your passport details and it also requires the passport to be a biometric one.
Read on to find out what a biometric passport is and what information is stored on biometric passports.
There are currently about 100 countries around the world that issue biometric passports and this number will only increase in the future. But what are biometrics and how are they revolutionizing travel?
Unlike traditional passports, which were simply a means of presenting personal details in written form together with a photo, biometric passports are able to store far more complex information about the passport holder’s fingerprints, face or even iris.
Before the passport is produced, the applicant has the information about their face, finger or eye registered. This is considered biometric information and it is stored on the new passport. This is possible because biometric passports contain a microchip. The biometric data can then easily be read by computers at airports or other points of entry and this information is then compared with photos, fingerprints or iris readings taken by immigration officials. Provided that there is a match, the traveler will then be granted entry.
Apart from the aforementioned advantage of being much easier to forge, biometric passports also provide a much faster way of checking travelers’ identity, resulting in considerably less waiting time at borders and airports.
The Chinese biometric passport has a range of features that differentiate it from the original standard passport. There are 48 pages, each with an anti-forgery label. The passports are printed using special sprinting ink, holographic film, and digital signatures. The biometric information is stored on the chip on the last page of the passport and includes the passport holder’s signature and thumbprint.
EVUS is the Electronic Visa Update System for Chinese citizens with business or tourism interests in the U.S. Applicants can fill in a simple application form and, once the EVUS has been granted, they are able to make multiple entries to the United States over a 10 year period.
Each time that the EVUS holder enters the U.S. they will be interviewed by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official who will ask them a series of questions. In addition to this, they will of course also need to present their passport. This passport must be a biometric Chinese passport. China has been issuing such passports since 2011 and there are currently over 100 million Chinese biometric passport holders. If you intend to apply for EVUS and you do not have a biometric passport then you will need to apply for one first.
The passport will mean that your biometric information (most probably your face) will be checked against the information stored on your passport. What all this represents for travelers is that a picture of your face will be taken when you arrive in the U.S. and this picture will then be compared with the one stored on the chip in your electronic passport. The CBP will never share the photo that they take of you with other parties.