All EU citizens landing in the United States without a visa will need to have biometrically-enabled passports by this October. In accordance with Washington’s security wishes, the European Commission has adopted additional technical specifications for the introduction of biometric identifiers in travel documents. Member States are required to include a record of the bearer’s facial map stored on an electronic chip in the passport as of 28th August 2006. Two fingerprints also have to be stored.
The passport format does not have to be the same from one EU country to another; But harmonised security standards yes: These are intended to ensure that the identity of EU citizens can be easily established, and to protect against identity fraud. “Basic Access Control” means all border posts will have to be equipped with machines to read the passport. By June 2009, all EU travel documents for entry into the US must meet the criteria.