TInews Archive #20030924b.html
||Wed, 24 Sep 2003
|| TInews Announcement <firstname.lastname@example.org>
|| TInews Announcement <email@example.com>
Machine Readable Passports Deadline
=== TINEWS ===================================
An information service from Office of Travel & Tourism Industries
U.S. International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
September 24, 2003
Machine Readable Passports Deadline Postponed
Contact: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries
Phone: (202) 482-0140, Fax: (202) 482-2887
According to the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE press release for: September
The Secretary of State has granted a postponement until October 26,
2004, as the date by which Visa Waiver Program travelers from 21 countries
must present a machine-readable passport at a U.S. port of entry to be
admitted to the country without a visa. The Department of State consulted
with the Department of Homeland Security before making this decision.
The countries for which the postponement has been granted are: Australia,
Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy,
Japan, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino,
Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Each country to which this postponement was granted made a formal request
and certified that it is making progress toward ensuring that machine
readable passports are available to its nationals and that it has taken
appropriate measures to protect against misuse of its non-machine-readable
Five other eligible countries did not request a postponement of the
effective date, because virtually all of their citizens already have
machine-readable passports. Those countries are Andorra, Brunei, Liechtenstein,
Luxembourg, and Slovenia. As of October 1, 2003, visa waiver travelers
from those five countries must present either a machine-readable
passport or a United States visa.
Belgium, which is also a visa waiver country, was not eligible to receive
this extension. Belgian nationals who wish to travel under the auspices
of the Visa Waiver Program have been required to present a machine-readable
passport since May 15, 2003. This requirement was stipulated in the Department
of Justice's review of Belgium's continued eligibility to participate
in the Visa Waiver Program in February 2003.
The Secretary's authority to postpone the effective date for a visa
waiver country's citizens to present a machine-readable passport is contained
in the USA Patriot Act, which legislated the requirement for visa waiver
Citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries are permitted to enter the
United States for general business or tourist purposes for a maximum
of 90 days without needing a visa.
For further information, please contact the State Department Public
Affairs Office via email at: http://contact-us.state.gov or call 202-647-6575.
The press release may be posted at: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2003/.
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Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 7025
Washington, D.C. 20230
(202) 482-0140, fax: (202) 482-2887
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