HC Deb 28 June 1988 vol 136 c162W
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.