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Visa Waiver Program - Frequently Asked Questions


Does the Biometric Passport Extension change the October 26, 2004 Machine Readable Passport requirement?

No, the Biometric Passport Extension to October 26, 2005 does not change the Machine Readable Passport requirement. In improving the national security of the U.S., these are two different requirements for passports for foreign citizens traveling without a visa, on the VWP, to request permission by the U.S. immigration inspector, to enter the U.S.

  • The biometric passport extension, which had been requested by the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State, is related to the biometric identifier requirement for the passport
  • The Machine Readable Passports requirement explained earlier continues to have an October 26, 2004 mandatory start date. By having a Machine Readable Passport, the U.S. immigration inspector’s job will be facilitated, by being able to quickly slide your readable passport through the reader, thereby displaying important information more quickly

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What should I know about Machine Readable Passports and families?

Families seeking to enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program will need to obtain an individual passport for each traveler, including infants. Machine Readable Passports typically have bio-data for only one traveler in the machine-readable zone. Based on this, families may be denied visa-free entry into the U.S. if the bio-data for only one traveler is machine-readable.

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