U.S. delaying biometric passport deadline

By EDRi · June 30, 2004

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted for a year-long delay of demanding visa waiver countries to introduce biometric passports for their citizens.

The 2002 Border Security Act demands from 27 countries the inclusion of chips with facial images in their passports, in order to continue participation in the US visa waiver programme. A deadline was set for 26 October 2004 after which citizens from most EU countries would either have to present a biometric passport or a visa to enter the United States.

The U.S. government requested a delay of two years for this requirement as none of the countries would be able to introduce the biometric passports this fall. Without a delay the U.S. state department would be swamped with visa applications from all travellers from the EU.

The House of Representatives only agreed to an one-year extension until 26 October 2005. The US Senate will yet have to approve the delay.

House approves one-year extension of biometric identifier requirement (14.06.2004)