As if passports weren’t a pain in the arse already, it turns out that things have just got even more complicated – and if you’re going to America any time soon, you might want to read on.
Apparently tens of thousands of holidaymakers and businesspeople could be turned away from their flights to the U.S. due to a new rule which was brought in last month.
The rule, which was hardly publicized at all, means that anybody planning to travel to the U.S. without a biometric passport, also known as an E-passport (one that contains a microchip), will be illegible to travel there, reports the Independent.
Oh – and in case you’re wondering, things get even worse, as even if you’ve been handed an ESTA, which is online permission to visit the states, then you’ll still get denied access.
Vic Ryan from Lincoln was due to fly to Florida at the start of the month with his wife, daughter, and her boyfriend and had applied for his ESTA well in advance, which was granted.
But when he Vic got to the check-in he was told that as his passport was non-biometric, he would not be allowed to travel.
We had no notification of this change which apparently came into force on 1 April. We made the decision for the rest of my party to go without me and I would come home.
There were a number of people at East Midlands Airport in the same situation as me but help was virtually non-existent.
The last old-style passports, without a microchip inside, were issued in autumn 2007 and The Independent has calculated that 1.3m are still in use.
Imagine paying for a holiday, booking the time off work, and ultimately just really looking forward to a break away only to find out you can’t go because a change in law that you were never told about.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.