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Biometric Passports and British Travellers

If you are a travel blogger like myself, a holiday maker or just someone who enjoys a trip aboard then take a look at this latest post. If you’re in need of a new passport for your summer holidays or travelling adventures this year then I would head to https://www.gov.uk/renew-adult-passport now or shoot to the nearest passport office. New rules have now been put into place, which has seen the blocking of British travellers without biometric passports/e-passports from entering the US!

In true British fashion, the masses have panicked, everyone is rushing and we are bound to see the usual 7 week wait for passports to maybe double as many will dash to get their new biometric passports. Even though tickets and boarding passes are all valid, many Britons are finding themselves being turned away at airports as they do not hold the required passport. New anti-terror laws have been placed by the US government stating that people entering the country must all now be the owner of a biometric passport to better security and entry into the US, but some are unimpressed with the lack of PR and general ‘heads up’ around the changes, which were quietly announced and introduced on April 1st.

What is a Biometric Passport

A biometric passport differs from the older style some travellers may hold as the new style e-passports contain an electronic chip with facial details to fight fraud and forgery as well as digitally coded measurements of the owners features such as eyes, mouth nose and ears.

These passports were first introduced and issued to British travellers in October 2006 (so if you applied for a passport after this you should be a-ok!)

biometric passports

Image Source: silversurfers.com

The problem effects travellers with passports issued before October 2006, when the e-passports first made their way into the hands of British adventures and around 3 million people could be effected. Below I have briefly written about the new laws and hopefully they will help you understand what is now needed from your passport when heading over to the US.

US Entry: New Laws

Holidaymakers looking to travel under the Visa Waiver Program must have possession of passports with specified security features.

These features are that the document must be an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner and must also have a machine-readable area of the biographic page.

The measures were announced by the US Department of Homeland Security on April 1.

It said: ‘E-passports are issued by the proper passport issuing authority and must meet international standards for securing and storing information corresponding to the passport and traveller.’

Travellers without an e-passport will no longer qualify for entry to the US under the Visa Waiver Program.

Travellers who wish to make their way to the country on a non-electronic passport must apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

Source: Department of Homeland Security

Thanks for reading and if you’re planning or have booked a trip to the US this year, get and sort that passport out as soon as possible. Like what I have written, found it interesting or hated it? Drop me a comment below 🙂

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