New passport requirements for entry to USA - don't get caught out

11 May 2016

Much as we love the USA, border control can be a little - shall we say - over-enthusiastic (almost turned away from the US the first week ESTAs were introduced? I may well have some personal experience of that). More important than ever, then to ensure that you have all your paperwork in order before you fly off for your dream wedding or honeymoon.

It has been fairly under-reported that as of 1st April 2016 (no joke, sadly), British passport-holders travelling to the USA need a biometric passport (i.e. with a chip) in order to use the ESTA visa-waiver scheme. If your passport was issued on or after 26 October 2006, it's already compliant with this rule, but if it was issued before, you'll need to check for the e-passport symbol - which looks a bit like a camera - on the front of your passport. 

If you don't have the right passport, your airline could refuse to let you travel, or you could be refused entry to the USA full stop. So do yourself a favour, and check today.

You can apply online for a new passport here

The Passport Centres in London, Belfast, Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newport and Peterborough can also arrange a new passport same day in person for £128.

For more info - including what to try if you're turned back because of your passport type - read the excellent article from MoneySavingExpert here.


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