New UK passport unveiled

The new design will offer extra protection from identity theft and fraud.

London: The redesigned UK passport, now featuring strengthened security features and iconic images from across the nation, was unveiled on Wednesday.

The new 10-year passport, which was unveiled by Chief Executive of the Identity and Passport Service Sarah Rapson, will be issued from October, with pages of the passport containing well-known UK scenes, including the White Cliffs of Dover, the Gower Peninsula, Ben Nevis and Giant` Causeway.

The use of these images, recreated through special printing techniques, is just one of a number of enhanced security features contained in the passport, which will give UK citizens added protection from identity theft and fraud and ensure speedier travel across borders.

The new security measures includes: moving the chip which stores the holder`s details to the inside of the passport cover where it will no longer be visible.

This gives additional physical protection as well as making it much harder to replace the chip without damage to the passport cover being spotted.

In addition, a secondary image of the holder will be printed onto the observations page and new designs now stretching across two pages.

It also includes a new transparent covering which includes several holograms to protect the holder`s personal details.

Rapson said: "The new passport features a host of scenes from across the UK. Through its combination of physical and electronic security features, the UK passport remains one of the most secure and trusted documents in the world, meeting rigorous international standards."

"The new design is part of our strategy to stay ahead of criminals who look to fraudulently alter or copy passports."

The new passport will replace the current UK ePassport which was upgraded in 2006 with the addition of an electronic chip to hold the owner`s details, and to comply with the US Visa Waver Programme.

The personal details page of the passport will be moved to the second page in the passport booklet, in common with other passports of Europe and around the world, to help speed up travellers` passage through border controls.

De La Rue takes over the contract for passport production in October 2010 when the current contract expires. The value of the 10-year contract is GBP 400 million, representing value for money for the taxpayer by providing an upgraded product for less than the previous contract.

An adult passport costs GBP 77.50 for standard service and GBP 112.50 for the one-week Fast Track service. A child passport costs GBP 49 for standard service and GBP 96.50 for the one-week Fast Track service.