Friday, October 13, 2006

DHS Announces Further Progress in Deploying E-Passport Readers

RFID Law Journal
Newsletter No. 25
October 13, 2006

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) signaled further progress in its rollout of e-Passport readers at U.S. ports of entry in preparation for an October 26, 2006 congressional deadline mandating that such ports of entry be capable of comparing and authenticating data in e-Passports issued by Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries.[1] In late September, 2006, DHS completed deployment of e-Passport readers at San Francisco International Airport, and in the past two weeks, e-Passport readers were deployed at Honolulu International Airport, Kona International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, New York JFK International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. DHS will continue deploying e-Passport readers at several other U.S. airports in the coming weeks to satisfy the October 26th congressional deadline. This deployment is an ongoing process, i.e., the first in a series of steps toward further enhancement of security for international travel documents.

As of October 26, 2006, a VWP country citizen shall be required to carry a valid e-Passport to travel to the United States without a visa.[2] Valid e-Passports comply with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) technical standards.[3] Pursuant to the requirements of the U.S. Border Security Act of 2002, the DHS is deploying e-Passport readers to U.S. ports of entry so that these ports can be capable of comparing and authenticating data from e-Passports by the congressional deadline. The U.S. port of entry inspection process is not expected to change for e-Passport holders, as U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, equipped with the e-Passport readers, will be able to read the e-Passport chip at their inspection booths. VWP travelers can verify whether or not their passport meets the new requirements by locating the details at

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[1] Visa Waiver Program countries include the following 27 nations: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 13 million people travel annually to the U.S. under this program to study, conduct business, visit family and holiday.

[2] See U.S. Border Security Act of 2002.
[3] Over the past two years, the U.S. worked with ICAO and VWP countries on technical standards to enable deployment of interoperable readers at U.S. ports of entry.


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