Tuesday, 9 January 2007
RFID passports in the wild in the USA
I've just received my first report of a regular (non-diplomatic) USA passport with an RFID chip in it (with data fields already allocated on the chip for logs of the passport holder's movements):
I applied for my passport in September 2006 and received it December 07, 2006. It has the mark of the beast on the front (the RFID Chip in Your Passport mark).
I applied for it [by mail] and received it in the mail at Anchorage, Alaska. The postmark on the Priority Mail envelope says it was mailed at Aurora Colorado.
I have not yet heard of any RFID passports being issued on the spot at the regional passport offices. If you want a new or renwal USA passport without an RFID chip, I continue to recommend that you apply in person on an expedited basis -- preferably requesting your passport the same day or the next day -- at one of these offices.
[Update, 3 February 2007: I heard today from someone in Texas who applied for their passport in December, and got back an RFID passport today with a postmark and return address from the Passport Agency office in Houston.]
Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 15:28 ( 3:28 PM)
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Partly thanks to US immigration laws we Europeans are getting RFIDed passports for over 6 mounths already. But thanks god, we can travell within Europe with our ID cards (if your European country issues one (and a driving license is not an ID!), otherwise you need the passport to identify at the check-in) as well and these are not tagged yet. So even within the Schengen area where no border controls exists you need at the end of the day either an ID card or passport.
I got my new US passport last Saturday (April 7), exactly 9 weeks after I mailed it in to be renewed, and I got an old-fashioned passport with no RFID tag (or at least no markings - and the pages were old style too). It came from the passport center in Portsmouth, NH. I also found this Senate Committee hearing http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Testimony&Hearing_ID=1834&Witness_ID=6541
with a statement from:
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services Tony Edson March 20, 2007 10:00 a.m.
Here's the important quote (about halfway down the page)"The Department of State began issuing diplomatic e-passports on December 30, 2005, and official e-passports in April 2006. We began issuing e-passports to the public on August 14, 2006. All our domestic passport agencies have been fully converted to issue e-passports. Conversion of the two remaining mega-centers is forthcoming, pending sufficient blank e-passport inventory." I'm guessing my non-electronic passport came from one of the two remaining mega-centers that haven't been converted yet.
Renewed mine in a rush as soon as I found out about this RFID thing (03/28/2007). Tried to make an appointment at Boston Passport Agency but the earliest available was in 3 weeks. Decided to gamble and mailed old Passport with the expedited fee. Got the non RFID Passport from Charlotte, NC.