United States – E-Passport Required For Visa Waiver Program

What has changed

As of April 1, 2016, all travelers who wish to visit the U.S. using the Visa Waiver Program must possess a machine-readable “e-Passport.” An e-Passport is an enhanced secure passport with an embedded electronic chip. E-Passports are issued by the proper passport issuing authority of each country and must meet international standards for securing and storing information corresponding to the passport and bearer.

Previously, Visa Waiver Program travelers did not have to possess e-Passports to visit the U.S.

Who is affected?

  • Citizens without biometric passports who plan to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program

What to expect

Clients who do not possess e-Passports will need to request one from the passport issuing authority of their country before traveling to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program.

An e-Passport bears the symbol below:

e-Passport

A machine-readable passport has two lines of text as letters, numbers and chevrons (<<<) at the bottom of the passport’s personal information page, along with the bearer’s picture. It looks like the image below.

e-passport2

Please note that if a traveler uses old passport information to obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval before receiving an updated e-Passport, they will need to complete a new ESTA with the e-Passport information before traveling to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Clients that do not possess e-Passports will need to request one from the passport issuing authority of their country before traveling to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program.
  • Contact your Emigra Ogletree Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above has been redistributed by Emigra Worldwide with permission from Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Emigra Ogletree Worldwide combines world class global immigration expertise with outstanding U.S. business immigration legal services in one, client-friendly package. The result  – a proven and seamless approach to your business immigration needs. The services and advice you need, where you need them. That is opening your world of immigration. That is Emigra Ogletree Worldwide. Your world is waiting.

The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.