Electronic passports required for Visa Waiver Program travelers

17 Mar 16

UNITED STATES

Beginning April 1, all travelers using the Visa Waiver Program to travel to the United States must hold fraud-resistant electronic passports, or e-passports, which contain an electronic chip with biographic and biometric information.

The new requirement is one of several tighter restrictions to the program, which became law in December under the federal budget bill.

Under this provision, countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program must certify that they issue e-passports and must put a system in place to validate e-passports at their ports of entry by Oct. 1. Most Visa Waiver Program countries already issue e-passports, but travelers holding older passports may have to update them.

BAL Analysis: Visa Waiver Program travelers should confirm that they have an e-passport, which can be identified on the face of the travel document, before attempting to travel to the U.S. starting April 1. Individuals who are no longer eligible to enter the U.S. under the program due to the change in law must apply for a visitor visa at a U.S. consular post.

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