The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has been conducting trials of the new passports, which will be issued to the public in February. The e-passports have been issued to diplomats, including the British ambassador to the United States, Sir David Manning.
Atook place at the Paris consulate in September, and a second trial took place in Washington, D.C., in late October.
Immigration officials have been notified, so if diplomats try to use them to travel, they should be able to get into the United Kingdom, a Foreign Office representative said. The trial passports will be withdrawn in a few months.
The passports feature "first generation" biometrics facial recognition--a digital version of the photo in the passport. Later versions are likely to include other biometrics, such as fingerprints.
The UK Passport Service has already started enforcing new photo standards during the quiet season to allow full-scale e-passport production and facial recognition.
By August, all new passports will be e-passports, in good time for the U.S. October visa waiver deadline, the Home Office told Silicon.com.
will form one of the building blocks for the government's controversial identity cards.
Steve Ranger of Silicon.com reported from London.