Since August 2007, all domestic passport agencies and centers issue only epassports. The move to electronic passports is worldwide, driven by the realization that paper-based passports can be too easily altered and falsified.
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Congress legislated that all countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program-which lets foreigners visit without obtaining a Visa-must issue electronic passports. Now there are international agreements in place and many countries around the world are issuing them.
The epassport has advanced digital security features that make it extremely difficult to counterfeit or alter. The security ensures that you, as the bearer of the passport, are indeed the person to whom it was issued.
You know you have an epassport if it has the small gold logo printed on the cover underneath "United States of America."
Want to learn more about how the epassport protects your privacy and safety? Read JustAskGemalto.com's Tutorial on the U.S. Electronic Passport.