An initial 3,300 biometric passports a day will be issued from 2007-08, the Immigration Department said yesterday. But the new technology will come at a price - $464 against $320 for the existing ones. The scheme is in line with the global trend of using such passports to speed up passage of travellers, improve aviation security and protect against identity theft. It will include recognition technology that will identify the passport holder by such facial details as the eyes and nose. From October the United States requires that all passport-issuers who want their citizens to enjoy visa-free access incorporate biometric technology in passports. The public now pays $320 for a passport, although they cost $451 to produce. But Assistant Director (Information Systems) of Immigration Raymond Wong Wai-man said the department was planning to recover the $464 production cost of the new passports. Mr Wong said a digital version of the passport holder's photograph and personal data would be stored inside a chip embedded in the back cover of the new passports. The photograph carries a facial recognition function that allows immigration checkpoint officers to verify the identity of the passport holder. Mr Wong said a black-and-white laser-engraved photograph would be used instead of a colour one. 'A black-and-white can render the holder's facial features more clearly, free from the interference caused by the colour.' Mr Wong said there was no plan to install fingerprints data into the passport because different countries scanned different fingers. People will be able to apply at about 10 automatic kiosks at immigration offices from 2007. Mr Wong said applicants would need to make just one visit to the department, with the instant snapshot taken verifying the person's identity and providing the department with its own record.