The New US Passport: Next Generation Passport

The New US Passport: Next Generation Passport

Travellers awaiting their new or renewed US passport this year may notice some changes in the appearance of their freshly issued travel document

American citizens needing to renew their passports or those getting one for the first time will get a document with a brand new look.

The US State Department has been rolling out what they call Next Generation Passports. A few were rolled out in 2021, but they will shortly be the only ones available for international travellers.

Unfortunately, between now and then there’s no way to request a Next Generation Passport and there’s no guarantee that’s the new passport you’ll get—for now.

The Next Generation Passports look similar to the current style, which has been around since the early 2000s. The most noticeable change is on the data page, where the current colour photo is being replaced with a laser-engraved black-and-white image.

The Next Generation Passport also features enhanced images of US history, culture, and traditions on the visa pages and there is a new perforated passport number throughout. 

As opposed to the current nine-digit passport number, new IDs will be alphanumeric, each starting with a letter followed by eight digits.

A tad smaller than its predecessor, the Next Generation Passport has 26 pages (versus 28) in a standard book, or 50 pages (versus 52) in an expanded book, which frequent travellers can request.

“The new passport is a modernised U.S. passport book which we started issuing in 2021. While our previous electronic passports (ePassports) are secure, the Next Generation Passport book (NGP) uses new technologies to produce a more robust passport with enhanced security features, such as a polycarbonate data page, laser-engraved personalisation, and updated artwork.”

The US State Department

Old Passports Are Still In Effect

Despite the change, current passport holders do not need to request a new passport. Current passports, which in general are good for 10 years, will remain in effect until the holder’s expiration date arrives. At the time of renewal, they will get a New Generation Passport with the new number.

Although many of the new passports have been rolled out already, some travellers requesting or needing new passports are continuing to get the old style. It won’t be until late 2022 or early 2023 when the New Generation Passports will be the only ones available.

For that reason, holders cannot request a New Generation Passport yet.

Currently, the New Generation Passport is available in book form only. The State Department expects to offer a new look for passport cards in the near future.

What are your thoughts on the application and documents required for a Schengen visa? Talk to us in the comments section below.

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