Passport
Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The Next Generation United States Passport: A Quick Look.

Smarter. Safer. Better.

A new modernized passport book has been introduced by the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State of the United States, which will slowly replace the current passport which is issued to citizens of the United States who travel outside of the country because it is considered to be smarter, safer, and better than the current passport.

The Next Generation United States Passport: A Quick Look.

Although the next generation passport books have been issued since 2021 and the current electronic passport books — which are slowly being phased out — are considered to be secure, it incorporates new types of technology “to produce a more robust passport with enhanced security features, such as a polycarbonate data page, laser-engraved personalization, and updated artwork.”

Source: The Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State of the United States.

The main reason why the changeover is gradual is because existing electronic passport printers are slowly being replaced with next generation passport printers at all official passport agencies and centers.

Source: The Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State of the United States.

The most noticeable changes to the new next generation passport book are the:

  • Polycarbonate data page
  • Location of the endorsement page, which is now on page 3
  • Visa pages, which have also been updated with detailed line work and ink colors which showcase imagery of notable architecture, history, culture, landscapes, and traditions of the United States
  • Additional microtext and laser engraving
  • Alphanumeric passport number, which begins with a letter and is followed by eight numbers — and is located both in the top right corner of the data page and included throughout the next generation passport book on the bottom of each page
  • Reduction of two pages in all passport books, as the standard size of the:
    • Next generation passport book is 26 pages; whereas the current electronic passport contains 28 pages
    • Larger next generation passport book is 50 pages; whereas the larger version of the current electronic passport contains 52 pages

Final Boarding Call

The new next generation passports are currently being issued in book form only at this time until the passport card is also upgraded and modernized — of which no specific time or date was announced.

If you currently hold an electronic passport book, you will not be required to upgrade to a next generation passport book, as both passport books and passport cards remain valid for international travel until their date of expiration. You may continue to travel with your current electronic passport book or passport card without a problem.

You cannot request a specific version of the passport book; and you are not guaranteed that you will receive a next generation passport book. Since electronic passports continue to meet and exceed international passport security standards, both types of passports can currently be used for international travel.

In terms of graphics and appearance, I prefer the look of the current electronic passport book when compared to the new next generation passport book.

Click here for information on how to renew your passport.

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

  1. My old passport originally had stamps on every page and only space for 2 more stamps, though some stamps were on top of others, so I asked for additional pages. That insert, now no longer added, had some stamps. Therefore, upon renewal, I asked for a passport with more pages. That’s my current passport. Unfortunately, ZERO stamps in it! Shameful. Almost a crime, which means I should almost be in prison! My next passport will be the standard sized one.

    I am for a reduction in passport fees. I believe a passport should not cost more than $35. That would be a good article for “The Gate”. Many people use their passport for one trip to Europe so $35 is more than enough expense, though I would charge $135 for a replacement passport. Here’s my research (all 10 years unless indicated):

    Taiwan, Republic of China NTD1300 = US$45.82
    Canada $160 = US$126.87 (surprise, usually Canada rips off its people)
    Australia $308 = US$227.42
    Belize $50 = US$24.83
    Singapore $80 = US$57
    Singapore replacement passport $130 = US$93 (see they think like me, it costs more)
    South Africa R400 = $26.75

    According to a New York Times article several years ago, the Passport Agency makes a profit. So ripping off Americans.

  2. UK fees are more complex. GBP75.50 if applied online, which is US$99.47. GBP 85 if applied using a paper application.

    A 50 page passport costs GBP85.50 if applied online.

    There’s more different fees. It’s free if born before September 2, 1929.

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