All of the major Visa Waiver Program countries have met the deadline for issuing biometric or e-Passports, the Department of Homeland Security announced today.
Twenty-four of the 27 VWP countries are now issuing passports containing an electronic chip with a passport holder’s biographical information, as well as a biometric identifier, such as a digital photograph. Three smaller VWP countries—Andorra, Brunei, and Liechtenstein—are still not issuing e-Passports.
Passports issued by VWP countries on or after October 26, 2006, must be e-Passports to be valid for their citizens to enter the United States without a visa. Machine-readable passports with a digital photograph issued before Oct. 26, 2006, or a machine-readable passport issued before Oct. 26, 2005, are still valid.
In addition to three countries listed above, VWP countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.