The ePassport

How ePassports work

What is an ePassport?

An ePassport is also known as a biometric passport. It looks like a traditional passport book, but it contains an electronic chip that is encoded with the same information found on page 2 of the passport (surname, given name, date of birth and sex). It also includes a digital picture of the bearer's face.

The electronic chip increases security, provides greater protection against tampering and reduces the risk of fraud.

Does the ePassport make border crossings faster?

The goal of the ePassport is to improve security by combating fraud. It may, in some cases, help speed up border crossings, but there is no guarantee that this will be the case.

What happens if the chip in my ePassport doesn't work?

In the unlikely event that the chip cannot be read, the passport will still be valid. Over 100 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and France, have been using ePassports for several years with no reported chip failures.

Are children's ePassports also valid for 10 years?

No. All children under the age of 16 receive ePassports that are valid for a maximum of five years.

Can I get an ePassport even though I already have a valid passport?

Yes, you are allowed to submit a simplified renewal application if you wish to replace your non-electronic passport with an ePassport, even if your current passport has more than 12 months remaining. You must pay the full fee and must meet the other requirements for simplified renewal. You must also provide a written explanation as to why you are applying at this time (to obtain a new ePassport).

Please note that there is no requirement to replace your valid non-electronic passport with an ePassport. Canadian passports that do not contain an electronic chip are highly secure and will still be valid until they expire.

I have a valid passport. Will I still be able to use it even though it's not an ePassport?

Yes. Passports that do not contain an electronic chip will still be valid until they expire.

Security

Does the ePassport contain biometric information such as an iris scan or fingerprints?

No. The only biometric information stored in the Canadian ePassport is the photo of the passport holder's face. The other information stored on the chip is identical to the information found on page 2. Once this information is locked on the chip, no information can be added or removed.

Can someone read the information on my ePassport without my knowledge?

The chip in the Canadian ePassport must be held within ten centimetres of the reader in order to be read. Moreover, the information on page 2 of the passport must also be provided to the reader first in order for it to access the information on the chip. It is therefore extremely unlikely that the data stored on the chip could be read without your knowledge.

What's more, only information contained on the chip is the photo and identifying information that is already visible on page 2 of the passport.

Does the ePassport contain any kind of tracking device?

No. The chip in the Canadian ePassport is passive, which means that it does not have a power source. It cannot transmit signals over long distances. An ePassport must be held within 10 centimetres of a reader in order to be read. The only information that is on the chip is the information from page 2 of the passport. The chip does not transmit or record any other information.

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