New US Passport Design: What to Look for in Next Gen Passport?
January 1, 2024
2 min. read
Initially rolled out in 2007, the U.S. ePassport has undergone an upgrade. Starting from 2021, we face new technologies helping to produce a more robust passport with enhanced security. If you’re in the middle of the passport application process, there are big chances you’ll get a Next Generation Passport (NGP).
Let’s uncover what the new U.S. passport design and modernized U.S. passport book have brought with the new version.
New US passport design and enhanced features
The Department of State introduced new advanced features for the U.S. passport better security per International Passport Security Standards. The new passport design has a few noticeable changes for safer and faster travel, displaying an enhanced data page and other noteworthy features.
NDP’s new data page
The data page is a polycarbonate data page containing a passport holder’s name, place of birth, date of birth, nationality, and photo.
Now, the page is much more durable while the photo is transformed into a laser-engraved black-and-white image.
Though the final variant is a laser engraved and black-and-white picture, you still need to apply for your new document with a 2×2 photo in color. To get a photo for your next-generation passport application is easy. You can opt for a Walmart passport photo, for example. Or take a passport picture online. Either way, the images will be compliant with the official rules and be accepted by the passport office.
Other features of new passport design for Next Generation Passport
What else can we enjoy in the new US passport design? The Next Generation Passport with enhanced security features highlights:
- Enhanced visa pages with high-tech imagery of US history, architecture, landscapes, and traditions.
- Laser engraved personalization and updated artwork.
- Perforated passport number.
- Alphanumeric passport number that begins with a letter followed by eight numbers.
- Fibers on the page that look like tiny hairs as part of the US passport pages.
- RFID chip for faster border control.
- Strengthened passport binding.
- 26 pages (versus 28) in a standard book. 50 pages (versus 52) in an expanded book for frequent travelers with a new polycarbonate data page.
- Watermarks and microtext have become more complex.
- Linework and imagery are another layer of security against forgeries and copies.
- Durability has improved with the new physical structure.
- The endorsement page that reserves space for more passport holder information, is now transferred to the third page of the Next Generation Passport. Previously, this page was placed after the visa pages. US travelers tended to think they had more usable visa pages than they did. Now, all identifying data of a passport holder is located on the front pages of the new passport design for better usability.
That said, your next-generation newly designed passport will be as sufficient as an old passport to travel overseas and fly or go by boat to neighboring countries like Canada or Mexico.
New design for passport and a QR code sticker
The US new passport design with improved security features possesses another key feature. That is a Quick Response (QR) code sticker. It’s placed in the back of the passport book and is identical for every passport holder.
The QR code helps to monitor up-to-date information with quick and easy access to the US Department of State’s website. You need to scan the code with your phone camera to get linked to it.
The authorities recommend keeping the sticker on the passport at all times as it streamlines no personal information, but is helpful to have vital information at hand. For those who don’t have a passport QR, you can also get information at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/passport-help/after-getting-passport.html
Is the passport card also a Next Generation Passport?
The US Department of State plans to introduce an upgrade to a passport card. Currently, you can only obtain next-generation passport books with a new passport design through the application process.
Do current US travelers need to change or upgrade their book or card?
There is no need to change your current valid passport for a new passport version. You will receive a new-generation passport once your existing passport has expired. You can safely travel with your ePassport book or card.
Does the Next Generation Passport with a new design cost more?
There is no additional cost for the Next Generation Passport. You can’t particularly request a new passport for international travel. As long as your federal facility issuing your passport is equipped with NGP printers, you’ll receive a new US passport design. Otherwise, you will receive the ePassport. Both the ePassport and the new passport are acceptable travel documents.
How long is a US passport with a new design valid for?
Like with previous generation passports, passport agencies and centers issue Next Generation Passports for 10 or 5 years, depending on the applicant’s age.