06 May

Biometric passports and the USA Visa Waiver Program

Since 1 April 2016, all UK passengers travelling to the USA are required to hold a passport with an integrated chip, also known as a biometric or e-passport, to enter the country.

Biometric passports were introduced to the UK in October 2006 so the majority of holidaymakers will have the correct passport. However, if your passport was issued before October 2006, it may not meet the entry requirements and you will need to renew your passport before you travel.

If you’re a holidaymaker, it is important that you make sure you are aware of entry requirements for the country you’re visiting, both when you book and before you travel. If booking with an ABTA Member, your travel provider will be able to give general guidance and direct you to further information. You can also check with us before travelling for the latest requirements.

We also advise holidaymakers to renew their passports early - the standard charge to renew an adult passport is £72.50, but this rises to £103 for the 1 week fast track service and £128 for the 1 Day Premium service. Customers should be advised that the Passport Office will add up to nine months unused validity onto a replacement passport, so they don’t have to wait for their passport to expire before renewing.

More information about entry requirements for the US can be found on the FCO, Passport Office, and ESTA websites.