L-1 Identity Solutions has announced that a contract award first announced in March 2008 for the US Passport Card has been expanded. The in-scope expansion of this original contract is due to increased demand anticipated for the new credential that will facilitate the frequent travel of Americans living in border communities.
Additionally, L-1 also was awarded $24.8 million over five years for the new US Border Crossing Card (BCC) as part of an expansion to the U.S. Passport Card program.
Together, the value of the prime contract award combined with the BCC award brings the value of the Department of State contract with L-1 to $239 million over five years.
The U.S. Passport Card is a convenient, wallet-sized document for land and sea travel between the United States and Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda. It is not valid for travel by air.
Full production and distribution of the new U.S. Passport Card began in mid July 2008, with over 350,000 Americans pre-ordering the U.S. Passport Card. The card has a vicinity-read Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) chip that enables Customs and Border Protection inspectors to access photographs and other biographical information stored in secure government databases before the traveler reaches the inspection station.
For privacy protection, there is no personal information written on the electronic chip itself. The chip has only a unique number pointing to a stored record contained in secure government databases.
The Department of State expanded the U.S. Passport Card contract to include the BCC specifically for Mexican Visa applicants. The Department of State anticipates issuing up to 10 million cards to qualified Mexican Visa applicants over the next five years. The BCC is modeled after the U.S. Passport Card and will incorporate an improved design, a vicinity-read RFID chip with read capacity consistent with other documents used by the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. Since the new BCC will be produced from the same card stock as the new U.S. Passport Card, it will incorporate the same overt, covert and forensic security features.
The BCC is the planned Phase 4 of the U.S. Passport Card contract and the new card is slated to begin issuance in Fall 2008.