News -- October 2003

Department of State Changes Machine-Readable Passport Requirement

Any person from one of six European countries 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 six countries are Andorra, Brunei, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Slovenia (Belgian citizens have been subject to the MRP requirement since May 15th under an interim rule).

The Visa Waiver Program permits individuals from certain 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 the six listed countries (including children) who do not have an MRP will now need to obtain a visa through a U.S. Consulate to enter America as a visitor. The October 1st deadline was mandated by the USA Patriot Act.

Citizens of twenty other countries have until October 26, 2004 to obtain an MRP for admission to the U.S. on a Visa Waiver. These twenty countries 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.


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