The New Passport
On April 8, the State Department began issuing a new, more secure passport to prevent misuse of American passports by criminals, terrorists and others. The new passport bears the holder’s digitized image along with other undisclosed enhanced security features to make it one of the most secure travel documents in the world.
All U.S. passport agencies have the technology to issue the new digitized passport but it is not yet available at U.S. embassies and consulates so, for now, all overseas passports must be processed at the National Passport Center in New Hampshire.
American citizens living overseas should allow extra processing time and apply early to renew expiring passports. Passports already issued and applications on file before April 8 wil not be digitized until they are due for renewal. It will be 10 years, the term of a passport, before all passports are digitized. The enhanced security features used in new passports also will be used in visas. The more fraud-resistant document called a “Lincoln visa” will be introduced over the next few weeks to enact stricter controls on people entering the U.S.