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Passports: Biometrics

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment has been made of whether biometric information in the UK passport complies with (a) International Civil Aviation Organisation standards, (b) American visa waiver standards and (c) Schengen standards. (310656)

[holding answer 14 January 2010]: The UK passport contains a facial biometric, which complies with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards for the inclusion of globally interoperable biometrics in travel documents. The UK passport also meets the requirements for the US Visa Waiver programme. As the UK is not a member of Schengen, the UK passport is not required to meet Schengen standards for passports. However the inclusion of a facial biometric in the UK passport is consistent with the EU Passport Regulation (EC 2252/2004) by which Schengen states are bound. The UK plans to implement fingerprint biometrics in passports from 2012.