If you don’t have a biometric passport you may be refused travel

As summer finally arrives, many British travellers are preparing to fly to the USA for a holiday or a longer stay. But if you do not hold a newer passport containing an electronic chip, you may not be allowed on a flight to the country.

“As of 1 April 2016, all travellers must have an e-passport to use the [visa waiver programme],” says the Department of Homeland Security website.

Electronic passport scan

The change has already caught out numerous UK travellers, many of whom were unaware of the new rule, or discovered it too late to get a new biometric passport.

The stricter US visa requirements were made under the US Terrorist Travel Prevention Act 2015, shortly after the San Bernardino shootings late last year.

Although the newer style passports have been issued since spring 2007, there remains over a million non-biometric UK passports in use. There has been little publicity to ensure that independent travellers know of the change in rules.

If you’re planning to travel to the USA, ensure you have an electronic passport and all required documentation well ahead of time.