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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

BBC > US implements new passport rule

By Daniella Relph
BBC News, Washington DC
From Tuesday visitors from 27 countries will need machine-readable passports to gain entry to the United States.
The United Kingdom, Australia and Japan are among those countries affected by the heightening of security measures at US airports.
Machine-readable passports are now standard issue in most countries.
They contain lines of coded data usually beneath the passport photo that can then be swiped at airport check-in and at US immigration.
The data allows the information on the passport to be immediately cross-checked against databases run by the US security services.
Warning letter
Those visitors who do not have the correct type of documentation will be issued with a one-time exemption.
They will be given a letter explaining their documents need to be changed and their passport will be stamped to show they have been warned.
Most countries in the European Union are affected by the new rules as well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore.
The changes are being driven by the US Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State.
They say they need as much information as possible on every visitor to the US to help ensure the safety of American citizens.
Story from BBC NEWS: /pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas /3954619.stm

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