5 million biometric passports issued in France were reached on April 20, two and a half years after the first passport containing a photo and fingerprints scanned, announced on Thursday, April 21, 2011 Ministry of Interior. The biometric passport, which is gradually replacing the e-passport, contains a microchip that is inserted in the facial image and the image of two fingerprints of the holder (taken only from the age of 6), said the department.
The first biometric passports had been issued officially October 31, 2008. It now takes an average week for biometric passport to be issued, the ministry said.
15 minutes no more - Since June 2009, passport applications can be made in one of the 2091 town halls equipped with recording stations that perform in less than 15 minutes the necessary formalities, he adds. The presence of fingerprints "is an essential security element of travel, making it a valuable tool in the fight against identity theft and against international terrorism" said the department.
The switch to biometric passports, whose detention is optional, has no deadline: the owners of e-passports can continue using them until their expiration date, said the department.
The manufacture of biometric passports has been entrusted to the Imprimerie Nationale capable of achieving up to 20.000 passports per day. 25 million copies in circulation - there are currently more than 25 million passports of any kind in circulation in France. Passports are valid for 10 years, except minors' passports under age 16 valid for 5 years.