2006-03-27 — Not quite a month since the first UK electronic passport (ePassport) was issued March 6, Bernard Herdan, chief executive of the UK Passport Service, says more work is needed to improve the issuance process. Speaking today at the Global Border Control Technology Summit in London, Herdan says the rejection rate for photos submitted by citizens for the new travel documents is 7.5%, mainly because the images have shadows or the person’s face isn’t facing right. “We have been struggling with photograph standards,” Herdan says, “because most people went to photo booths.” Those photo booths typically lack proper lighting and instructions on where to look to ensure a usable passport photo. Increased consumer education will help resolve this issue, Herdan says. Also yet to come is installing the e-passport readers at ports. Herdan expects the major entry points, such as Heathrow and Gatwick airports, to have readers by the end of the year. As for the longevity of e-passports, Herdan says he has no concerns about the chips holding up. Durability of the document has more to do with how the chip is encapsulated with the e-passport, he says, something he is satisfied with in the UK e-passport. Currently, the UK Passport Service is issuing about 25,000 e-passports a week, he says, with that increasing to about 180,000 a week by August. Typically, the UK issues about 7 million passports a year. The UK has spent about 60 million pounds on its e-passport conversion, Herdan says.