Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 05060765 (posted Jun. 7, 2005)"
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today issued a reminder to all travelers from the 27 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries that in just over 2 weeks they must have a machine-readable passport to enter the United States without a visa.
"We strongly urge anyone who is traveling to the United States to check their documents to ensure that they have a machine-readable passport and other proper documentation to enter the United States," said Robert C. Bonner, Commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "By having the correct documents, CBP officers can easily verify an individual's identity and quickly process them into the United States."
Today's reminder follows a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement on May 12, 2005, stating that as of June 26, 2005, transportation carriers will be fined $3,300, per violation, for transporting any VWP traveler to the United States without a machine-readable passport. Similarly, VWP travelers arriving in the United States on that date without a machine-readable passport should not anticipate being granted one-time entry into the country.
Outreach efforts to inform the public of the June 26, 2005 deadline have helped reduce the number of VWP visitors arriving at the US without the proper passport. An average of 100 VWP travelers arrive per day without the machine-readable passport, compared to 147 per day leading up to the DHS announcement. CBP hopes to reduce that number even more over the coming weeks. Anyone from the 27 VWP countries thinking of traveling to the United States is encouraged to check with their passport issuing authority to ensure they are in possession of a machine-readable passport. As an alternative for persons with immediate travel plans who are unable to obtain a machine-readable passport in time, the individual may apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad.
The 27 countries participating in the VWP include: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Any traveler from these 27 countries will need a machine-readable passport on June 26, 2005 to enter the United States.
An example of a machine-readable passport may be found online at http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html#11
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, and protection of our Nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.