The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has completed the deployment of ePassport readers at San Francisco International Airport. This is the first in a series of rollouts across the US as the country’s airports prepare to meet the 26 October 2006 congressional deadline requiring US ports of entry to authenticate data in ePassports issued by Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries. As SDW revealed earlier this year, the DHS has chosen UK-based passport reader manufacturer Rochford Thompson to supply its readers for use at US ports of entry.
The US Border Security Act of 2002 requires that passports issued by VWP countries on or after 26 October 2006 must be ePassports to be valid for entry into the US without a visa. According to a spokesperson for the US-VISIT program, 25 of the 27 VWP countries will meet the requirement. The two – unnamed – countries that will not meet the deadline are expected to comply with the requirement by the end of the year.
The act also requires that US ports of entry have the capability to compare and authenticate ePassport data.