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News Article - October 26 2006

DHS Deploys e-Passport Readers to Additional Airports
  WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced that e-Passport readers are now in place and processing travelers at additional airports, including: Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Guam A.B. Won Pat International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Orlando International Airport, Orlando-Sanford International Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport. Installation of the new readers is the next in a series of deployments that began at the San Francisco International Airport in September and will continue at U.S. airports in preparation for an October 26, 2006, deadline requiring that passports issued by Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries, on or after this date, must be e-Passports to be valid for entry into the United States without a visa. Since deploying e-Passport readers at San Francisco International Airport nearly a month ago, DHS has also installed readers at the following airports: Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne Country Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Honolulu International Airport, Kona International Airport, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, New York JFK International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Tampa International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

   Deployment of e-Passport readers is another step in a process to further enhance the security of international travel documents while continuing to facilitate the flow of legitimate travel and trade to the United States. DHS will deploy e-Passport readers to the following locations in the coming weeks: Boston Logan International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Denver International Airport, Dublin International Airport, Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Portland International Airport, San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Shannon Airport and Vancouver International Airport. An e-Passport securely identifies the person, defends against identity theft, protects privacy and makes it difficult for travelers to cross borders using fraudulent documents. The e-Passport carries the international e- Passport symbol on the cover and contains a contactless chip with the passport holder's biographic information and a biometric identifier, such as a digital photograph of the holder. All e-Passports being issued by VWP countries and the United States have critical security features which prevent the unauthorized reading or "skimming" of data stored on the chip.

   E-Passports being issued by VWP countries must comply with technical standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization. During the past two years, the U.S. government has been involved in efforts to work with VWP countries to test technical standards making e-Passports interoperable with readers at U.S. ports of entry. Other types of valid passports that can be used to enter the United States include: machine-readable passports with a digital photograph issued before October 26, 2006, or a machine-readable passport issued before October 26, 2005. The inspection process at a U.S. port of entry does not change for an e- Passport holder. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers will have the ability to read the e-Passport's chip at inspection booths displaying the international e-Passport symbol.

   The 27 countries participating in the VWP include: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Approximately 13 million people each year travel to the United States under the VWP to study, conduct business, visit family or tour the country. Travelers who wish to verify whether or not their passports meet the requirements and deadlines for VWP travelers, can find details at http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/vwp_travelerguide.pdf or contact a U.S. consular office in their country.

   Website: http://www.dhs.gov/us-visit

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