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Aussie passports to get more expensive and high-tech

November 26, 2013 Corporate, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The price of Australian passports will rise from 1 January 2014 – and new versions of the Aussie passport may incorporate voice-recognition and eye-scanning technology.

The price rise is already set and will be for passports as they now exist. New hi-tech passports may come later, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) seeking a biometrics advisory panel to look at fresh passport ID alternatives.

First, the price rise.

The following application fees for Australian passports apply from 1 January 2014: Aussie Passport

Ordinary

  • Adult: AUD 244 (an adult passport valid for 10 years is available to Australian citizens aged 18 years or older)
  • Senior: AUD 122 (a senior’s passport valid for five years is available to Australian citizens aged 75 years or older)
  • Child: AUD 122 (a child’s passport valid for five years is available to Australian citizens under 18 years of age who have never married) 

Frequent traveller (a frequent traveller passport has more visa pages than an ordinary passport)

Adult AUD 366

Senior AUD 183

Child AUD 183 

Second, the passport of the future:

Australian passports may incorporate voice-recognition and eye-scanning technology as the government expands biometric identification.

Australian passports have included facial recognition technology since 2005. It is used for SmartGate entry at Australian and New Zealand airports. The Australian government is now investigating “other biometric technologies”, according to a request for tender made public yesterday.

DFAT, which also runs the SmartTraveller website, is searching for companies to fill a new biometrics advisory panel, which will replace the current panel when its tenure expires in March, tech news site ZDNet reports.

The tender document says the scope of the new panel will be “expanded to include additional biometrics such as voice”.

Tenderers must have expertise in facial, fingerprint, iris or voice biometrics, or in signature-reading technology, the document says.

They must also be able to provide equipment such as fingerprint scanners, iris scanners, and voice acquisition devices.

In 2005, Australia became one of the first countries to introduce an ePassport with a digital chip on which the holder’s biographical data is recorded.

Today, Australia is regarded as a world leader in secure passport production and issuance. Passport offices in Australia and overseas issue about 1.8 million passports a year and more than 10 million Australians – just under half of the population – currently hold an Australian passport.

The holy grail is the perfect passport, impossible to forge and infallibly linked to the user.

Written by : Peter Needham

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