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Passports: Security

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what international obligations apply to the implementation by her Department of measures to ensure the security of passports. (269314)

Travel document standards, including those relating to the minimum security features of such documents are set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in their Document 9303. The United Kingdom passport complies fully with the ICAO standards, both in relation to the travel document specifications and the security features. In relation to the latter, the UK passport surpasses the minimum standard required.

The EU Council Regulation (EC 2252/2004) on standards for security features and biometrics in EU citizens’ passports requires Schengen states to issue passports that comply with a minimum level of security features, including biometric identifiers. The UK is excluded from this regulation (as it is a Schengen building measure). Nevertheless the UK complies with the measure in relation to security features and the inclusion of the facial image biometric, and intends to comply with the requirement to include fingerprints in passports.

The UK also complies with the EU Council Common Position on the exchange of certain data with Interpol in relation to reporting lost and stolen passports.