§ Sir Hector Monro
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in which countries it will be possible to read the machine-readable page in the new British European Community passports.
§ Mr. Renton
[holding answer 21 June 1988]: All the information contained on the machine-readable page of the new British passport in the European Community common format will be readable by the human eye as well as by optical character recognition equipment. I understand that the United States of America has begun to install passport-reading equipment at ports of entry, and other countries are expected to follow suit. The United Kingdom immigration service is using passport-reading equipment in a pilot project at Dover. It is not intended to machine-read the passports of United Kingdom nationals routinely at United Kingdom immigration controls, but the capability to do so will exist.