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Passports

Volume 712: debated on Monday 6 July 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of passports can be read electronically at United Kingdom ports and airports; and what steps are they taking to increase that percentage. [HL4549]

In order for passports to be read electronically at United Kingdom ports and airports the page containing the biographical data of the holder must be constructed in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Document 9303.

The UK Government do not collect data on the percentage of passports that can be read electronically. Research completed earlier this year by the Migration Experts Sub Group of the G8 Lyon/Roma Group suggests that 82 per cent of the countries in the world issue passports which comply with the ICAO Document 9303 and can thus be read electronically. The majority of those countries which do not comply issue comparatively few passports. Therefore the overall percentage of passports presented at UK ports of entry which can be read electronically is in fact significantly higher than the above figure.

The UK continues in international meetings including of the International Civil Aviation Organisation to press for greater use of and enhanced standards in machine-readable travel documents.