The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that e-Passport readers are now in place and processing holders of e-Passports at additional airports, including Honolulu International Airport , Kona International Airport , Los Angeles International Airport , New York JFK International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Washington Dulles 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 through the next few weeks in preparation for an October 26, 2006 , deadline requiring that U.S. ports of entry have the capability to compare and authenticate data in e-Passports issued by Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries. Since deploying e-Passport readers three weeks ago, DHS has processed more than 1,944 e-Passports at San Francisco International Airport, alone.
An e-Passport securely identifies travelers, 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.
DHS requires that passports issued by VWP countries on or after October 26, 2006 , must be e-Passports to be valid for entry into the United States without a visa. These e-Passports must comply with technical standards established by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). When applying to enter the United States, travelers who have a valid machine-readable passport with a digital photograph do not need to obtain a new e-Passport until the existing passport expires, if the digital photograph passport was issued before October 26, 2006.