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Important Travel Information For Passengers Travelling to USA

Changes to passport entry requirements that could invalidate travel. 

If you are travelling to the United States of America this year then please take note of the following change which could prevent you from travelling to the country if your passport is not compliant.

Unbeknown to many British travellers, the US Government has made a crucial change to its entry laws.

  • Only travellers holding a valid e-Passport (biometric) will be allowed entry into the country under America’s usual visa waiver programme.
  • Older European style passports will NOT be permitted entry and travellers holding these will not be allowed to board a flight to the USA.

US Homeland Security implemented this change on 1st April this year. However, the change was not advertised or flagged up by US Customs or European tour operators and airlines, and so many British travellers are unaware that travellers without an e-Passport will not be able to fly.

The change was highlighted this month when a passenger was refused travel to the USA.

Mr Vic Ryan had booked his family holiday with Thomson and had submitted all paperwork, such as the APIs and ESTAs, in advance of travel. However, when he arrived at the airport check-in desk he was told the devastating news that he was not allowed to fly - his family could, as they had biometric e-Passports, but he did not.

Mr Ryan went public on Facebook in an attempt to alert other travellers to the issue and prevent the same thing happening to them.

His Facebook posts claim that much of the travel industry didn't know about the change until the day it was implemented, however, he says that Thomson still isn't advising customers about the new entry law, despite the fact that the change was introduced at the beginning of April.

In a statement, Thomson said, ‘‘We’re sorry to hear that a small number of customers have been unclear on the passport and visa guidelines for entry into the United States of America. Under the US government guidelines anyone travelling after 1st April 2016 requires an electronic passport.”

If you’re flying to the USA this year, check your passport – it’s thought that the change could affect up to 400,000 UK travellers who still have older style European passports.