Passport Articles | General Passports

Passport Changes for the United States

As most of us are aware security whist travelling is of the up most importance, and every country around the world has their own measures on ensuring the safety and security of its passengers, it can be hard to travellers to identify and know about some rules for certain countries prior to travel, this article aims to assist with this and help you identify the things you need to know in regards to the e-passport for the US.

But, what happens when these countries don't publicise these changes well enough; especially when these directly affect passengers that have already booked and paid for their upcoming holiday and travel plans. This article covers the recent changes to the US passport border controls for UK citizens who do not currently possess an e-passport.

The Changes

Recently the United States made a rather big change is in policies surrounding the rules in which UK citizens can travel to the USA. In this new law that has been passed a UK citizen can only travel to America is you have a valid UK E-Passport. These are the new style Passports that have been rolled out over many countries including the EU.

E-Passports are now extremely important; it makes your passport much more secure and prevents criminals and fraudsters from counterfeiting them for illegal travel and activities. And whilst many of us may already have these new E-Passports hundreds of thousands of people still remain on the old style passports.

Problems Travelling

There have been many reports of passengers being left stranded at the airport after being told they can not travel to the US on their old style passport.

In one case a husband and wife going on their first holiday abroad with their two year daughter got separated after the man got told his passport was not valid at the check-in desk, leaving his wife and daughter to travel to America alone.

This is not a good situation for anyone to find themselves in and yet many people have not been informed of these changes and have been left stranded leaving holidays ruined and families slit up.

Lack of Information

Airports and airlines are always completely up to date with any and all changes in travel and movement of people this has to be by far one of the most low key rule changes in recent years.

One of the most shocking things in this case is that no airlines or travel providers tried to contact customers in any way regarding these changes. Whilst it seems they can inundate customers with junk emails they seemed to fail at sending their customers a very important bit of information and many airlines have said it is up to the individual travelling to be aware of these changes. But, surely if that information were to be widely publicised by the airlines their customers would be aware?!

It seems that all areas from the government right down to travels have been left pretty much in the dark over these changes loosing people thousands of pounds in the process.

I Still Have An Old Passport - Can I Still Travel?

The simple answer is yes. If you have already made travel plans to the US and still currently have an old style passport you can still travel. But, you will need to renew you passport to the new style E-Passports.

If you are travelling within the next 4 weeks we highly recommend you use the urgent passport services. This includes a 7 day Fast-Track services and a 1 day Premium service, this will guarantee you have you passport in time for you to travel.

We strongly advise all passengers with plans to travel to America to check their current passports to ensure they are able to travel.

Do I Need A New Visa If I Have A New Passport?

This will depend on what type of visa you have got to travel with.

If you do not have an ESTA visa you will need to apply for an ESTA online before you travel, as they will not accept it if it has been issued in your old passport.

If you have any other type of visa you will not have to apply for another one. But, you will need to take both your old and your new passports to travel. Both passports will also have to have exactly the same details on them and will need to be for the same purpose i.e.; either tourist passports or both diplomatic passports.

If you are changing your name on your passport either through marriage or civil partnership you will also need your old and new passports as well as your marriage/civil partnership certificate to travel.

Need more help?

Talk to the Passport Office team

Call Passport Advice Line

Lines open 8am-8pm

Need an urgent appointment?

Find Nearest Local Office