The United States quietly introduced a new rule about entering their country on April 1st this year (no it wasn’t an April fool) that could affect you if you’re planning to travel there any time soon.
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The new rule is that they’re not letting anyone enter their country anymore unless they have a biometric passport. That’s even if they’ve already granted you an ESTA – the online document you currently have to fill out before you enter the country.
Most people should be OK as the last non-biometric passports were issued in the spring of 2007 and you have to update them every ten years anyway. However, apparently there are an estimated 80,000 people that may be affected by the change that might have their holidays disrupted unless they update their passports before their trip. Indeed, a few people planning a getaway to the States over the bank holiday weekend had to miss days of their holidays and spend hundreds of pounds in booking other flights and getting new passports to make it over there.
If you’re planning on going to the States anytime soon, then you need to check you’ve got a biometric passport immediately. They’re the new ePassports that came out about ten years ago and they’re pretty easy to identify. If yours has a rectangle bisected by a horizontal line with a circle in the middle on the front (like the one above), then it’s biometric and you’ll be able to get into America when you travel there. If it isn’t, then you had better get down to the passport office sharpish. You can thank us later.
For another dumb way to miss your holiday, check out these idiots who booked their flight from the wrong Birmingham.