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Volume 688: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the present timetable for introducing the 69 new passport interview offices. [HL757]

The first interview offices will open early in the next financial year with the remainder opening in phases throughout 2007. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State will be making a Written Ministerial Statement in another place in the new year to provide more information on the timetable.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How iris scans and fingerprints for the new passport interview regime will be obtained by the video links for remote areas. [HL758]

The new passport interviews being introduced in 2007 will not require any iris scans or fingerprints to be recorded from passport applicants. The identity interview, for first-time applicants over the age of 16 only, can therefore be accomplished by video link for those in remote areas.