TENS of thousands of British travellers may be turned away from flights to the United States this summer due to a new rule, which has received little media attention.
Under previous regulations, anyone visiting the US from Visa Waiver program countries such as the UK had to register with the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), in order to determine their eligibility to enter.
Now, anyone without a biometric passport is unable to travel to the country without a visa, even if they fulfil ESTA requirements, following measures introduced in April.
The new ‘ePassport’ was introduced in 2007, and contains an electronic chip with personal information, whereas the last old-style passports were issued the same year, with around 1.3 million still in use.
Reports of passengers being told that they are not allowed to travel are already emerging after the rule change was quietly introduced via the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act 2015.
The rule is also set to affect flyers from Malaga airport, following Norwegian’s recent announcement that they are to investigate direct long-haul flights to the US.