Reminder! E-Passport Mandatory for VWP

E-Passport Mandatory for VWP

Reminder! E-Passport Mandatory for VWP

MSA would like to remind individuals traveling to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”) that e-Passports are mandatory, as of April 01, 2016.  The VWP permits citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.  Eligible individuals must also obtain approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (“ESTA”) prior to traveling under the VWP.

If a traveler does not have an e-Passport, but is eligible under the VWP, then he or she will need to apply for a valid nonimmigrant visa from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before coming to the U.S. The e-Passport is part of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 and has enhanced biometric security measures, including electronic chip characteristics that conform to international standards of security. This, however, should not affect most applicants to the U.S. as since August of 2007, the U.S. Department of State only issues e-Passports to applicants and most nations also now issue e-Passports to citizens.

For further information, see the May 09th, 2016 statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP).