In July 2008, the Department of State (State) began issuing passport cards as a lower-cost alternative to passports for U.S. citizens to meet Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requirements. In October 2008, State began issuing the second generation border crossing card (BCC) based on the architecture of the passport card. GAO was asked to examine the effectiveness of the physical and electronic security features of the passport card and second generation BCC. This report addresses: (1) How effectively State's development process--including testing and evaluation--for the passport card and second generation BCC mitigates the risk of fraudulent use? (2) How are U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers using the cards' security features to prevent fraudulent use at land ports of entry? To conduct this work, GAO evaluated the security features of passport cards and second generation BCCs against international standards and guidance and results from testing and evaluation and observed the inspection of these cards at five land ports of entry (POE).
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of State||1. To ensure the designs for the passport card and BCC physical security features adequately mitigate the risk of fraudulent use, and to improve the development process when conducting future redesigns or updates to the passport card or BCC, the Secretary of State should fully address any issues or problems encountered during testing, including the documentation of reasons for not addressing any of them.|
|Department of State||2. To ensure the designs for the passport card and BCC physical security features adequately mitigate the risk of fraudulent use, and to improve the development process when conducting future redesigns or updates to the passport card or BCC, the Secretary of State should fully test or evaluate the security features on the cards as they will be issued, including any significant changes made to the cards' physical construction, security features, or appearance during the development process.|