Electronic passports now available in NY

Updated: 2014-03-06 12:17

By Hu Haidan in New York (China Daily USA)

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China's Consulate General in New York started issuing electronic passports (e-passports) to Chinese citizens on Feb 28 with the official opening of its New York e-passport accreditation center.

The e-passport contains an electronic chip on the last page. The chip holds the same information that is printed on the passport's data page, including the holder's name, date of birth, fingerprints and other biographic information.

According to a press release on the consulate's website, e-passports will better protect citizen's personal data, as well as safeguard national security.

E-passports will also be convenient for residents traveling. The technological foundation it provides could benefit the passport holders in acquiring more convenient entry and exit services, such as the self-help custom clearance.

More than 90 countries have already applied e-passports worldwide, including the US, Japan and Australia.

The press announcement also said that the e-passport will improve the image of China.

Chinese citizens, whose passports will expire within one year, are eligible to apply for e-passports. Detailed information can be found at the Consulate General's website.

The major application process is the same as applying for a traditional passport. There is no extra cost.

The main difference in applying for the e-passport is it requires applicants' fingerprints and signature on the spot.

New applicants will get e-passports after storing thumb fingerprints and signatures, while old passports can still be used.

Although e-passports have a number of advantages, residents have mixed reactions about the big change.

Wang Mo, a 24-year-old Sichuan native who came to the US in 2011 to study accounting for a master's degree, said he would like to have an electronic passport.

Wang said he feels his personal information will be safer with an e-passport.

"E-passports will effectively prevent faking and re-making a passport," Wang said, adding that he had learned about e-passports from the China exit-entry administration website.

"It's harder to copy or use an e-passport that is lost or stolen compared with traditional passport," he said.

But Zhang Ruixiang, a 43-year-old Shanghai native who has worked at a consultant company in New York for 13 years, said she has concerns about the e-passport.

"I don't really trust electronic stuff as the amount of high-tech crime has increased sharply these days," Zhang said. "I think my information is safer with a traditional passport."


 Electronic passports now available in NY

Sun Guoxiang (right), China's consul general in New York, hands the first electronic passport to an applicant on Feb 28. Provided to China Daily

(China Daily USA 03/06/2014 page1)