Protect passport chips

If you throw your biometric passport in the wash with your dirty clothes and end up with a damaged electronic chip, the State Department says you have to get a new one.

A proposed rule published today in the Federal Register outlines new passport regulations to deal with damaged biometrics when the federal government begins phasing in electronic passports later this year.

The electronic chips, which contain information about the passport holder and a biometric identifier, are becoming such an important part of the document that damaged chips will not be acceptable, according to the notice.

"A passport that contains a damaged, defective or otherwise nonfunctioning electronic chip or with observable wear and tear that render it unfit for further use as a travel document may be invalidated by the Department of State," the notice states.

Under limited circumstances, the notice states, individuals can receive free replacement passports if an electronic chip fails or if a person has changed his or her name or other personal identifying information within a year of the date of the passport's original issue.

By 2006, the State Department will be issuing electronic documents. The older paper passports — without a chip — will be accepted until they expire.

"The State Department considers the inclusion of biometric identifiers in international travel documents made possible by electronic chip technology to be a critical step in upgrading border security for the United States," according to the notice.


  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.