Postponement of the Deadline for Machine-Readable Passport for Travelers from Certain Visa Waiver Countries

The Department of State has extended the deadline for requiring machine readable passports (MRP) as a condition for visa free entry into the United States.

Citizens of Japan, as well as of twenty other countries, can continue to use the visa waiver program for short term tourist or business travel, even if they hold a passport which is not machine readable. After October 26, 2004, all persons using the visa waiver program will be required to have a machine readable passport for visa free entry. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 99 percent of valid Japanese passports are machine readable.

The countries including Japan for which the postponement has been granted are:

Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom

Travelers from six other eligible countries must present either an MRP or a U.S. visa. They are: Andorra, Brunei, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Slovenia, and Belgium.

  1. MRPs typically have biodata for only one traveler in the machine-readable zone, and families may be denied visa-free entry into the U.S. if the biodata for only one traveler is machine-readable.
  2. This change affects only visa waiver travel. Applicants for visas at U.S. consular sections are not required to obtain MRPs, regardless of the category of visa being sought.