News -- August 2003

Machine-Readable Passports will be Required for Those Seeking to Enter the US on a Visa Waiver

Every person who seeks to enter the U.S. on or after October 1, 2003 using the Visa Waiver Program must have a machine-readable passport ("MRP"). The Visa Waiver Program permits individuals from 27 countries to enter the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.

Twenty-seven countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, which is for business and tourist visitors only, and does not authorize employment in the U.S. Citizens of these countries (including children) who do not have an MRP will need to obtain a visa through a US Consulate to enter the US as a visitor on or after October 1, 2003.

The 27 countries that take part in the program are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The October 1st deadline was mandated by the USA Patriot Act. Belgian citizens have been subject to the MRP requirement since May 15th under an interim rule.


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