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Does my passport have a chip?

Travel Forums General Talk Does my passport have a chip?

1. Posted by phelpsg (Budding Member, 2 posts) 20 Mar '06 15:48

I just received my new passport today and I'm not sure if it has an embedded microchip. It doesn't have the embedded chip logo (that looks sort of like ==O== ) anywhere that I can see. And I can't feel anything in the back cover that feels like an embedded microchip. But it does have about 20 green reflective dots on the inside back cover, near the binding, and it has a bar code at the bottom of the inside back cover. Anybody know if this is, indeed, a machine-readable passport?

2. Posted by john7buck (Respected Member, 458 posts) 20 Mar '06 16:37

I wasn't really aware that passports had "chips", but it leads me to another question. Whenever I'm entering a country at a point that has the technology to scan the passport, mine never does. After a bit of confusion and entering the numbers in manually I seem to get by just fine but am leary of the day I am not granted entrance for this. Is this a realistic worry? The passport was issued in 1997, perhaps it was before the scanning came about?

One other passport related question, and I apologize phelpsg for tacking on some extra questions here, but I'm also pretty much out of pages to be stamped. If I'm planning to travel again before the passport expires in 2007, can new pages be stapled in or something?

3. Posted by Hien (Moderator, 3906 posts) 20 Mar '06 19:11

Hi Phelps,

I'm not sure whether USA passports have embedded chip in it, but all Malaysian passports which are still valid and have not expired, do have an embedded chip. The chip is embedded in the thick and hard back cover. If I look carefully at an angle over the light, I can see a slightly embossed mark and signs of the chip. Perhaps you should try to look for something similar like this in your passport, or simply contact the office that issues the passport to you to verify.

Cheers,
Hien

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4366 posts) 20 Mar '06 19:49

Quoting phelpsg

Anybody know if this is, indeed, a machine-readable passport?

What is meant with machine readable is usually the lines looking like this:
info<moreinfo<<<<<<<<<<<<

The current development is that as of soon, all passports "must" (for so the great and mighty american empire has decreed, as only a police state can free us all from the evil terrorists!) have RFID ("contactless") chips, which are small computers that get their power from a radio frequence beam. This is not yet required, and if you have a passport issued before a certain date, won't be for a few years yet. If you can at all manage to get a new passport that doesn't contain an RFID chip, that would be very advisable, as anyone can create RFID readers, and thus read such information as stored in this computer simply by walking by you. (There's some encryption and handwaiving about security involved, but it's not very secure.)

john: that shouldn't give you any problems, given that you aren't a non-american trying to travel to the USA. (If you were european, that passport would have you sent back on the next plane.)

5. Posted by phelpsg (Budding Member, 2 posts) 21 Mar '06 00:46

Quoting john7buck

One other passport related question, and I apologize phelpsg for tacking on some extra questions here, but I'm also pretty much out of pages to be stamped. If I'm planning to travel again before the passport expires in 2007, can new pages be stapled in or something?

You can mail in your passport and have extra pages added. There's no charge for this if you want to wait 6 weeks. Otherwise, they soak you $60. For info, see:

http://travel.state.gov/passport/fri/add/add_850.html

6. Posted by john7buck (Respected Member, 458 posts) 21 Mar '06 09:07

Thanks phelpsg and Sander. The reason for concern, I had a friend leave on a RTW a while back with his new fiance. Their first stop was Costa Rica and after all of the initial excitement of leaving on the big trip, they were shipped back to the States from Costa Rica because his passport was in shambles. A funny story in hindsight, but I don't think his fiance found it quite as amusing on the long flight back to LA. It did work out in the end, with them only having to stay in LA for a day or two to get the matter sorted.

7. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4366 posts) 21 Mar '06 09:33

Hmm, well, I don't know the exact requirements of all countries in the world. It's quite possible a couple of others have followed the US's draconian rules. You'd have to check with the immigration organizations of the specific countries you're wanting to travel to. (As a rule though, most countries are pretty lenient.)