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Visa Waiver Program - Frequently Asked Questions


Which countries have been granted an extension till October 26, 2004 to comply with the Machine Readable Passport requirement?

Travelers from countries granted the postponement can continue to travel, as they have in the past, without a Machine Readable Passport. On October 26, 2004 a Machine Readable Passport or U.S. visa will be required at the port of entry, to enter the U.S. without a visa. Countries with the Machine Readable Passport postponement until October 26, 2004 are:

Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom (England).

Note: Belgium, which is also a visa waiver country, was not eligible to receive this extension. Belgian nationals who wish to travel under the VWP have been required to present a Machine Readable Passport since May 15, 2003.

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What is a Machine Readable Passport?

A machine readable passport has biographical data entered on the data page according to international specifications. The size of the passport and photograph and arrangement of data fields especially the two lines of printed OCR-B machine readable data, meet the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Doc 9303, Part 1 Machine Readable Passports. OCR-B means the type is Optical Character Reader size B. If there are questions about your passport, after carefully reviewing this information, and any information which may be available to you from your country, you may want to contact the passport issuing agency or authority in your country of citizenship.

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