Biometic Passports??

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Ok, according toForeign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice page, I'm pretty lucky I can go to ApacheCon 2004 on friday;

lucky they repealed their requirement for Biometric Passports for all British vistitors until next year. I'd rant, but I'm still in shock of almost not being able to go cos I didn't read the 'fine print'. Apparently :

"From 26 October 2004, all British passport holders, including children, travelling to the USA under the VWP will need their own machine-readable passports (MRP). From 26 October 2004, anyone without a MRP, including children who are currently on a parent's passport, will need a visa to travel to the USA. See paragraph below on UK passports to find out if you hold a MRP. If, after 26 October, a Visa Waiver Programme national presents him or herself for admission to the United States without a machine-readable passport or non-immigrant visa, US Customs and Border Protection officers may grant a one-time exemption to admit the traveller to the United States. The traveller will be issued a letter explaining the US entry requirements and his or her passport will be annotated that a one-time exemption has been granted. However, entry is not guaranteed, and travellers without a MRP should apply for a new passport or a US visa well before travelling, if at all possible.

The US Government has agreed to extend to 26 October 2005 the date by which eligible travellers from VWP countries must have biometrically-enabled machine readable passports if they wish to enter the country without a visa. In the first instance, biometric passports will contain data about the holder's face, this could be followed by other unique personal information such as fingerprints or iris details. The UK is working on its programme to introduce biometric passports, but it will not be fully ready in time for the new US deadline. British Citizens who would normally travel under the VWP may therefore require a visa, which will include biometric data, to enter the US on or after 26 October 2005."

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