A greener era for U.S. passports begins this week

April 15, 1993|By Houston Chronicle

The U.S. State Department is bringing a little color into your life. Beginning this week, all new American passports will turn from blue to green.

The change is part of the State Department's efforts to discourage counterfeiters, said Gary Sheaffer of the agency's Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington. The changes are taking place nationwide.

Mr. Sheaffer said that passport design is periodically upgraded to incorporate new technologies that discourage counterfeiters and forgers.

"This passport has some very nice features,," he said. "Like over the photograph, we are using something called the kinogram, which is similar to the hologram in a credit card. It will be in the plastic on the photo. If someone takes out the photograph and puts another one in, that little hologram will disintegrate."

New page designs feature the seals of the states of the Union. "This shows that this is a passport for the entire country, but it also makes it difficult to fool around with those pages. There are a number of them on each page."

Mr. Sheaffer said that the color change isn't unusual.

"We have used the blue since 1976," he said. "We used green before that from 1941 to 1976. We switched to the dark blue for the Bicentennial."

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