[802SEC] Machine Readable Passport Requirements
There probably needs to be a distribution to 802 at large regarding these
new requirements/restrictions regarding travel to the US by foreign nationals.
Fact Sheet: Machine-Readable Passport Requirement
Effective October 26, 2004, travelers applying for admission under the Visa
Waiver Program (VWP) pursuant to section 217 of the Immigration and
Nationality Act (INA) must be in possession of a machine-readable passport
(MRP). As an alternative, travelers may obtain a non-immigrant visa in
their current (non-machine-readable) passport.
If, after October 26, 2004, a Visa Waiver Program national presents him or
herself for admission to the United States without a machine-readable
passport or non-immigrant visa, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
officer is permitted to grant a one-time exemption to admit the traveler to
the United States. The traveler will be issued a letter explaining the
U.S. entry requirements and his or her passport will be annotated that a
one-time exemption has been granted. If a traveler fails to obtain a
machine-readable passport or a nonimmigrant visa for subsequent visits, she
or he may be refused entry under the VWP.
Travelers who receive an exemption and make an incidental trip to Canada,
Mexico, or the adjacent islands as part of their trip to the United States,
should be advised that the exemption is applied for one entry in the U.S.
only. Once they leave the United States, they may not be allowed to
reenter without an MRP, despite the exemption on their I-94.
A number of factors may impact compliance with this requirement and will be
considered regarding one-time exemptions:
* Although outreach efforts have been made to advise travelers of this
requirement, not all visa waiver travelers may be aware or may be confused
by the various provisions.
* Each VWP applicant must now present an individual passport. Some
family groups that list minor children on one of the parent's passports may
be adversely affected. Families are encouraged to obtain individual
machine-readable passports prior to travel.
* Some countries do not issue official or diplomatic MRPs. Diplomats
or Government Officials who are on travel for government business will have
a nonimmigrant visa with an "A-1 or A-2" classification and do not qualify
for admission under the VWP.
* Travelers who apply for entry into the U.S. at an airport with a
non-machine-readable passport for the purpose of departing on a cruise that
makes multiple stops at various U.S. ports may be considered again for a
one-time exemption at each successive location during their trip if they
can establish continuous travel from the arrival through the period of the
cruise and ultimate departure.
For a period of six (6) months beginning October 26, 2004 until April 25,
2005, CBP will not impose a fine on the transportation carriers (under
Section 273(a)(1) INA) for bringing to the United States any traveler who
is a national of any one of twenty-two (22) designated countries applying
for admission under the VWP without an MRP. The 22 countries are: Austria,
Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy,
Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San
Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
As of October 1, 2003, nationals of the following four countries were
required to present an MRP for admission under the VWP: Andorra, Brunei,
Liechtenstein, and Slovenia. Effective on that date, transportation
carriers were liable for transporting nationals of these countries to the
United States for admission under the VWP without an MRP. This new
procedure will not affect that policy, and CBP will continue to impose a
fine in those circumstances.
As of May 16, 2003, nationals of Belgium were required to present an MRP
for admission under the VWP. Effective on that date, transportation
carriers were liable for transporting these persons to the United States
for admission under the VWP without an MRP. This new procedure will not
affect that policy and CBP will continue to impose a fine in these
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