France to start issuing biometric passports

7th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 6, 2006 (AFP) - France is to start issuing biometric passports April 17, the state printing company said Monday, raising the prospect of an end to a dispute that has caused a bottle-neck for citizens travelling to the United States.

PARIS, March 6, 2006 (AFP) - France is to start issuing biometric passports April 17, the state printing company said Monday, raising the prospect of an end to a dispute that has caused a bottle-neck for citizens travelling to the United States.

The printing company said it had formed a technological partnership with French and Dutch companies to produce the new passports within five weeks of getting a firm order from the French interior ministry.

Currently, thousands of French citizens who have had new passports issued since October last year without microchips containing facial data have had to apply for visas for travel to the United States, a process that takes several months.

Several other countries have already started issuing biometric passports which allow the bearers of 27 states -- most of them European -- to enter the United States without a visa for tourism or short-term business trips.

France's own roll-out of the new passports was held up because of a labour dispute sparked by the interior ministry's decision to ask a private company to produce the new passports instead of the state printing firm.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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