MILLIONS of Britons are barred from America even if they have a valid passport after a change in border control rules. Here is everything you need to know.
Devastated holidaymaker Vic Ryan, who was stopped from flying to America, has warned other Brits that they cannot travel with an ‘old’ passport.
Mr Ryan was not allowed to enter the US with his family even though he had filled in the correct paperwork and saved long and hard for the holiday.
Here is everything you need to know about the new passport rule in order to make sure your own holiday plans are not ruined.
What is the new passport rule?
US immigration will turn away British tourists unless they have an electronic passport, also known as an e-passport.
The new passport rule came into force on April 1 2016, creating confusion and throwing many Britons’ travel plans into chaos.
About five million Britons still have old-style paper passports and and therefore cannot currently enter America.
What are e-passport requirements?
The US Department of Homeland Security said that the electronic passports must have a digital chip with biometric information about its owner.
The department said: “An e-passport, denoted by the symbol, is an enhanced secure passport with an embedded electronic chip.
“E-passports are issued by the proper passport issuing authority and must meet international standards for securing and storing information corresponding to the passport and bearer.”
The rules apply to travellers from countries, such as Britain, which take part in America’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
How can you get an e-passport?
The British Government started to only issue e-passports in 2006.
But if you got your passport before then, you will need to apply to get your passport renewed before you travel.
It should take about three weeks to get a new passport if you apply online or use the Post Office check and send service.
But if you need your new passport within a week or even just a day, it is possible to book an appointment for a fast-track service.
What is UK Government advice?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said "All travellers wishing to enter the US under the VWP now need to hold a passport with an integrated chip (an ePassport).
"Your passport is an ePassport if it carries this internationally recognised symbol on the front cover."