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British Airways: new passport rules for USA travel

Get your kids their own passport is the new message from British Airways as thousands of families head off to the USA…

Get your kids their own passport is the new message from British Airways as thousands of families head off to the USA for their summer holidays.

New rules will come into place from Sunday June 26 2005, which mean that every customer (including children) from 27 countries (including the UK) who are eligible to enter the US under the visa waiver scheme must now have their own machine readable passport.

These passports feature two lines of coded data at the bottom of the photo page that can be swiped at check-in.

If passengers do not have this type of passport then they must go through the time consuming visa application process in the weeks before they travel.

Under the visa waiver scheme, every child must have their own machine readable passport and can no longer be placed on their parents` passports.

Jim Forster, British Airways` government and industry affairs manager, said: These rules first came into effect in October 2004 but we were able to secure an eight month period of alleviation which enabled customers who did not have the correct passport type to get a single entry to the US.

However that alleviation will run out on June 26 and it is now imperative that all customers, who wish to be eligible for the visa waiver scheme, including children, have a machine readable passport.

We do not wish to turn anyone away at check in before they fly off on their hard earned holiday to the US this summer, but everyone will need to have the correct documentation.

In particular we have real concerns about some European countries which have not been issuing machine readable passports for very long and the impact it may have on those customers who fly to America from mainland Europe via London.

British Airways recommends that all customers check their passports if they are flying to the US and make sure they either get the appropriate visa or a machine readable passport.

If customers do not have the correct documentation they will not be allowed to board their flight.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.