Council of Ministers gives the green light to the Portuguese Electronic Passport

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The Government of José Sócrates approved today in the Council of Ministers a new resolution in which it provides for the issue of the Portuguese Electronic Passport until July 2006. The document that will include biometric data, follows international standards and improves security and control mechanisms.

In a statement, the Council of Ministers states that the resolution intends to «strengthen the means of coordination and ensure the rapid preparation of the legal and organizational instruments necessary for the implementation» of the project to issue the new Portuguese Electronic Passport.

It is also ensured, according to the same document, the articulation of the Portuguese Electronic Passport with other public programs, namely the «Citizen’s Card» project.

It is recalled that the identity documents of Portuguese citizens have been referred to as easy to falsify, raising security problems. The new Passport will be in accordance with community standards, allowing the optical reading of biometric data in addition to fingerprints and should therefore make it difficult to counterfeit.

The document will also satisfy the requirements for the participation of Portugal in the North American Visa Waiver program, thus allowing the exemption of the visa to enter the USA for holders of Portuguese passports, says the statement from the Council of Ministers.

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