Are you planning on traveling this summer? If so, please take note of increased travel security from Visa Waiver countries.
Effective April 1, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will require the use of electronic passports, or e-Passports, by all travelers coming to the U.S. from the 38 countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program. An e-Passport contains the security feature of an electronic chip which holds all of a passenger’s information, such as name, date of birth, and other biographical information. This protects privacy and prevents identity theft, helps to safely identify a passenger, and makes travel safer and faster. Travelers who do have an e-Passport from a Visa Waiver country must obtain a visa to enter the U.S.
The Visa Waiver Program remains a valuable program for lawful trade and travel with the Nation’s most trusted partners. The required use of e-Passports is the latest in a series of steps to ensure the security of the Program, such as increasing the data collected from travelers for vetting purposes, and requiring increased terrorism and criminal information sharing and increased cooperation on the screening of refugees and asylum seekers with countries in the Visa Waiver Program.