Your passport is the most secure form of identification that you carry. It’s much more complex than your driver’s license or even your credit cards. While passports used to be simple paper books, modern US passports now have all sorts of technology and cross-protections at work to keep your identity safe and help prevent fraud.
US passports are made at the US Government Printing Office, and they are made up of sixty different materials. There are upwards of thirty passport security features working together in the model that is currently issued. Let’s take a look at some of the cooler features:
Passports are printed with a few different holograms to help make it harder to forge the look of a passport ID page. Of course, it is possible to forge holograms, so this feature alone isn’t a major deterrent, but combined with other security features, it’s one more tool preventing fraud by both low-level forgers and sophisticated outfits.
Your passport uses ink that you can see for your name and address, but it also uses ink that only shows up under UV lights. Holding your passport under a UV light is one of the firsthttps://www.swiftpassportservices.com/blog/is-there-an-electronic-chip-in-your-passport/ things that a customs agent will do to check its validity.
Surprisingly enough, the way your passport is printed is actually the hardest part to forge. Everything from the layering of the paper to the texture of the print can give away a fraudulent passport.
Passport technology is always evolving, and one aspect of passport security that is always under heavy scrutiny is the RFID chip. This electronic chip embedded in the cover of your passport carries a copy of all your vital information. So if someone stole your passport and changed the name or the picture, a customs agent could still scan the passport and see that the information doesn’t match.
The big fear with RFID chips is that someone you don’t want to scan your passport will be able to get a read through your pocket or your luggage and steal your information. This is very unlikely, but smart people are hard at work making sure it can’t happen in the future.
With all of the technology at work in passports, they are incredibly hard to fake. It’s much more common these days for fraudsters to use passports they have stolen than fake a passport. If you ever lose your passport, make sure to report it missing as soon as possible so anyone who tries to travel with it can be caught (and so you don’t get into trouble for things they might do).
Then, contact the Swift team to get a replacement passport in a matter of days. We’re available 24/7 to help.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.