We just got our renewed passport, but it’s the new US biometric passports with the RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) chip.
The new passport has that tiny square with the circle inside emblem at the bottom. The covers are very hard and solid compared to the flimsy covers of the previous passport generation. And the inside pages has completely different art to it. And in the future, they’ll be able to store fingerprint, even retinal scan information on the new chip embedded into the passport.
All of the biometric data (height, weight, eye color, date of birth, etcetera) is stored on the RFID, which can be read without it being physically scanned. Get the passport close to the reader, then it can be “read” — which should expedite lines or anyone having to actually have things touch. The new stiff cover of the passport also acts as a radio frequency shield, meaning that the passport must be open before it can be read by other scanners. However, critics have pointed out security flaws of the new passport — read here for an op-ed piece in the Washington Post.
My own personal passport is still the old school non-biometric chip passport and am I glad that I have it.
Regardless, I think it is important to have a passport (biometric or not), because you never know when you may have to travel and for any naturalized citizens (in this day and age), you need it because it is INDISPUTABLE evidence of your US Citizenship. And that’s very important.