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US State Department introduces new range of Passport Rules

Travel News Asia 26 October 2004

The US State Department is introducing a range of new passport rules and security measures from today, October 26, 2004, which will have an impact on all customers flying into the USA.

In particular, the new legislation requires that all travellers, including children and babies, from 27 countries who are part of the visa waiver scheme should now have a machine readable passport.

These passports feature two lines of coded data at the bottom of the photo page that can be swiped at check-in. If passengers do not have this type of passport then they must go through the time consuming visa application process.

Jim Forster, British Airways government and industry affairs manager, said: We hope that as the UK has been issuing machine readable passports for the past 10 years that most of our UK based customers will be okay.

However we believe that many families may fall foul of the new rules as the children have traditionally been placed on their parents passports rather than having their own.

There may also be problems with some UK passports which have been issued at overseas embassies.

We also have concerns about some European countries which have not been issuing machine readable passports for very long and the impact it may have on those customers who fly to America from mainland Europe via London.

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