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Millions of Britons with old-style passports are being warned they will be turned away from the United States following a security clampdown amid terrorism concerns. Under new rules introduced by the US government, visitors travelling to America from a Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) country, including the UK, are required to have an electronic passport - one which has an embedded electronic chip. The change came into force on April 1 but some Britons, unaware of move, have reportedly been caught out and refused entry to the US.
E-passports were brought in on October 2006. Passports last for 10 years so the change is thought to only affect British passports issued between April and October 2006. But with six million of the travel documents handed out each year, it is thought over three million Britons could be caught up in the change. A spokeswoman for US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said after the Visa Waiver Programme Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act 2015 was passed, detail have been posted on its own and the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (Esta) websites. She added: "CBP encourages travellers to check their passports and their current Esta status to make sure they are in compliance with the requirement.
"CBP also sent an email to the applicants whose passports would no longer be valid for travel, as long as a valid email address was on file with their applications." The VWP scheme allows passport holders from those nations to visit the US for a period of up to 90 days. Visits that can be made include business, tourism and travel to another country. The CBP spokeswoman said those from VWP countries without an e-passport and who wished to travel to the US could obtain a non-immigrant visa. According to advice on the Home Office website, this visa can be applied for and obtained from the nearest US embassy or consulate.
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