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Shanghai switches to e-passport next Tuesday

Travelers holding the new generation of passport embedded with a chip will be able to enjoy self-service in border crossing, Shanghai police said yesterday while introducing the e-passport.

The electronic chip embedded on the last page of the e-passport can store the holder's information including fingerprints, portrait photos and signature. It is more secure against forgery and more convenient for travelers to pass the customs, said the Exit-Entry Administration of Shanghai Public Security Bureau.

E-passport channels will be set up in major ports in China for travelers to use self-service to enter and leave the country, officials said.

The administration will begin issue e-passports next Tuesday at a cost of 220 yuan (US$35) each, same as the traditional passport. Today is the last day to apply for an old-version passport.

"The new technology can prevent passport forgery and alteration because the holder's information is encrypted in the chip," said Chen Jun, deputy director of the bureau. "More than 90 countries and regions in the world have adopted this kind of passport."
"But the new passport will pose some challenge in the application process as applicants are likely to spend more time making fingerprints and signatures," said Zhang Jun, another bureau official.

They encourage applicants to make an online appointment instead of waiting in lines in the administration's service hall.

"Growing prosperity in recent years has led to a dramatic increase in passport application," Chen told reporters. "Last year about 700,000 Shanghai residents applied for passports, compared with 600,000 in 2010."

To encourage online appointment, people who apply for passports online need only to wait for eight days to get their passports, instead of 10 days in the traditional method, the bureau said.


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