2016 is shaping up to be a major year for US passport changes. On the heels of the recent discontinuation of additional passport pages service, the State Department will soon unveil new, redesigned US passport books. These new Next Generation passports contain many features to enhance the security of your passport. They will be near-impossible to forge or use fraudulently. The new passports should start to be issued in July 2016.
Resdesigned Information Page
Next Generation passports will feature a number of high-tech upgrades to the information page. The information page is the page that displays your photo, name, and other details. On Next Generation passports, it will be covered with a strong polycarbonate coating. This clear plastic coating will protect your passport from water damage. (Water damage to the information page is one of the top causes of passport mutilation.) The polycarbonate will also protect an embedded electronic chip. This chip will contain the same basic data as your information page. If your passport is ever stolen, it will prevent thieves from modifying your passport so someone else could use it.
If the polycarbonate coating and electronic chips aren’t enough, the State Department will also use lasers to customize the Next Generation passports. Each passport will have the passport number laser-engraved on the photo page and visa pages.
Upgraded Visa Pages
The State Department has promised upgraded artwork for the visa pages on Next Generation passports. Pages will be watermarked to prevent forgery. Some images on the pages will be printed with “tactile” ink that is raised up from the page. You’ll be able to feel the image if you run your fingers across the page! Other images will include “optically variable” ink that will change colors if you look at it from different angles.
The new Next Generation passports will also return to having page numbers printed on the visa pages. This is good news, and will make it easier to keep track of how many blank pages remain in your passport.
The State Department will continue to offer passports in two sizes: the standard 27 page book and the large 52 page book. There is no additional fee for the large book, but they are issued at State Department discretion and may not always be in stock at every Passport Agency.
We’re excited to get our first look at the new Next Generation passports. Are you?