How To... get a e-passport for travel to the United States

e-passport united states
6 May 2016

There's a lot of talk at the moment, about the difficulties some holidaymakers are facing when they're travelling to the United States of America.

Basically, the rules in the US have changed, which could see people being refused entry, even with a valid passport.

Since April 1st, you need a biometric passport (often known as an e-Passport) to get in the country with the Visa Waiver Programme, which the United Kingdom is part of.

US authorities say this of your passport requirements: "Travel under the Visa Waiver Program is restricted to travellers possessing passports with specified security features."

"Visa Waiver Program requirements are:

The passport must have a machine-readable zone on the biographic page

The passport must be an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner."

You can find more information about it all at CBP.gov. Basically, if your passport has the logo, below, you'll be fine and you don't need to do anything.

Passports issued in the UK after 2007 should have one of these logos on them (unless you got stiffed for some bizarre reason), and it means there's an embedded chip in it.

The Americans want passports with chips, because it means they can keep track of those entering the country better. Why do they want to do that? Terrorism, obviously. They're obsessed.

Either way, if you're going to America you're going to have to renew your passport if it isn't one with that logo on it.

If you're lucky, it'll take three weeks to renew (do try and leave yourself more time than that though), and you can do that at gov.uk/renew-adult-passport.

Annoyingly, this is going to cost you £72.50 (and a bit more on top if you're using the Post Office's Passport Check and Send service).

If you don't have one you'll have to apply for a visa at a US Embassy.

There's no doubt that this is going to be something of a faff for many people, but if you're planning on visiting the United States a lot, be it through work or you've got family there, the best option is to renew and update your passport.

TOPICS:   How To Guides   Travel

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