As of June 26, 2005 Travelers From Visa Waiver Countries Must Have Machine Readable Passports

On June 7, 2004, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 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. CPB strongly urges anyone 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. By having the correct documents, CBP officers can easily verify an individual's identity and quickly process them into the United States."

On May 12, 2005, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced 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. Anyone from the 27 VWP countries thinking of traveling to the United States should check with their passport issuing authority to ensure that 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 the following link.