UK launches hi-tech £66 passport

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From today all British citizens renewing their passport will receive a new biometric passport.

The hi-tech, or ePassports contain a secure chip with an image of the holder’s face, and are designed to make forgery more difficult and improve international security.

The biometric passports will also be issued to first-time applicants, who in addition will be required to attend interviews as part of the application process from early next year.

Further to the announcement from the Home Office, was the confirmation that also from today passport fees will rise. A 10-year adult passport will now cost £66 instead of £51, both for a first-time or renewal passport.

The UK has been issuing some 2.4 million biometric passports since March, but until today the majority of new passports issued were still non-biometric.

The new passport looks similar in design to the old one, but bears the international ePassport symbol as well as new security features including an intricate page design and watermark. British birds have been used as a theme throughout, apparently symbolising the freedom for travel, as well as providing scope for developing security features. The birds picked to appear include the red kite, merlin, kingfisher and red grouse.