The US plans to roll out a major ePassport overhaul over this summer with the so-called “Next Generation Passport” (NGP) set to include a wide range of new security and design features.
More than 2 million Next Generation Passports have been already issued to Americans since last March, but the issuing will really step up this year, according to the State Dept.
The Next Generation Passport book (NGP) uses new technologies to produce a more robust passport with enhanced security features, such as a polycarbonate data page, laser-engraved personalization, and updated artwork.
The most noticeable changes to the new passport book are the polycarbonate data page and the location of the endorsement page (now page 3). Visa pages have also been updated with detailed linework and ink colors that showcase imagery of U.S. architecture, history, culture, landscapes, and traditions.
The standard size of the Next Generation Passport is 26 pages. If you frequently travel internationally and need more visa pages, you may choose the larger, 50-page book when you apply. The ePassport has 28 pages in the regular-sized book and 52 pages in the larger book.
The passport number in the NGP book begins with a letter, followed by eight numbers. It is located in the top right corner of your data page and is included throughout the NGP book on the bottom of each page.
The State Dept added that it is only gradually replacing existing ePassport printers with NGP printers at our passport agencies and centers. Since ePassports continue to meet and exceed international passport security standards, both ePassports and the NGP can be used for international travel.
The US is also only issuing the NGP for passport books. It plans to “soon” upgrade and modernise the passport card.