UK hikes up price of ePassports

The price of a passport is on the rise in the UK for the second time in ten months as a result of rising security costs since the introduction of the biometric epassport.A standard UK ten-year adult ePassport will cost £66 from 5 October representing a 60% rise from its price this time last December.

This compares to the equivalent fees over ten years for ePassports in other countries (Australia £72, Belgium £96, France £41, Iceland £81, Japan £163, New Zealand £123, Norway £87, Switzerland £219, USA £54).

This completes a two-stage fee increase to allow the introduction of the latest generation passport to international standards as well as other anti-fraud measures such as enhanced background checks on applicants and preparations for face-to-face interviews for first-time adult passport applicants.

The biometric epassport has a microchip embedded in the centre page which contains the digitised facial image and personal details of the passport holder as they appear on the data page. The microchip can be read electronically and will enable the implementation of cutting-edge facial recognition technology.

The UK is one of forty countries deploying ePassports. From October ePassport production will be a requirement for countries wishing to remain within the US Visa Waiver Scheme.
More than 1 million ePassports have been issued in Britain since March. From the end of the summer, all applicants will receive a biometric document.