Seoul to include fingerprints in new biometric passports

Posted on : 2007-05-11 21:25 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST

The South Korean government has decided to include fingerprints in new electronic passports, a key requirement for entry into the U.S. visa waiver program, along with images of passport holders' faces, a Foreign Ministry official said Friday.

"Including fingerprints will significantly help" confirm the holder's identity, Kim Bong-hyun, director of the Overseas Korean and Consular Affairs Bureau at the Foreign Ministry, told reporters.

"The government plans to start issuing electronic passports in December on a trial run," the official said, adding the official issuing of the new passports with personal biometric data will begin early next year.

South Korea has been seeking to benefit from the U.S. program that would allow South Korean travelers to make short-term visits to the United States without a visa.

The U.S. requires a country to issue electronic passports and maintain a visa refusal rate of under 3 percent.

South Korea's visa rejection rate currently hovers around 3.5 percent, according to the ministry.

The U.S. Senate has recently passed a bill that would allow countries with a visa refusal rate of less than 10 percent to benefit from the visa waiver program as long as they meet other requirements.

SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap News)