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What kind of passport is valid to get ESTA?

Passports required by the DHS (Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration) must be machine readable or electronic. What is the difference ?

Unlike the electronic passport, the machine-readable passport does not have a recognition chip. Passports printed in France after 12 April 2006 are electronic passports with a chip and encoded with biometric data.

However, if you have a passport prior to that date, it may be valid in the following cases.

  • If the passport has been renewed or extended before October 26, 2005, there is no need for a change.
  • If the passport has been renewed or extended after October 26, 2005 and before October 26, 2006, you must have:
  • A digital photograph that is printed on the data page and not glued and laminated;
  • Or an integrated electronic chip containing the holder’s data, thereby rendering the electronic passport.

From 1 July 2009, VWP temporary or emergency passports are electronic.

All countries in the program have different rules and deadlines, but we can summarize as follows:

  • Travelers from South Korea, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Malta, Slovakia and Hungary will need a smart electronic passport.
  • Travelers from other countries participating in the VWP may have a readable passport, without a chip.

To find out if you have a readable passport, you can control the data page, in this type of passport there are two lines of text with numbers, letters and rafters (<<<) at the bottom of the page.

If you still have questions about the type of your passport, you can also visit the Customs and Border Protection website where the presentation of the passport number and the number of a passport, Identification will let you know what type of passport you have.

Electronic Passport Readable passport
Which is also necessary for French citizens
pasport pass

From October 1, 2015, you must have an electronic passport to be eligible for ESTA.

Example 1: AudreyAudrey was not sure that her passport met the safety standards set by the VWP, so she was not sure if she could come back with an ESTA. Our specialist Francine clearly told her that if her passport was legible this would be enough to travel with an ESTA travel permit. Francine showed Audrey where to find the code that is read by the machine when they did the passport checks. Audrey felt relieved and she applied for permission on-line.

Example 2: AnneAnne made her honeymoon in the United States. 9 years ago she visited Los Angeles with her husband. This year she and her husband Bernard decided to return to the United States and visit the other coast, to the east, and go to Miami. In soliciting the VWP, Anne found that her passport was neither electronic nor legible. To avoid a visa application to the American Embassy, ‚Äč‚ÄčAnne has opted for the renewal of passports. In fact, all new passports comply with VWP safety measures so Anne can travel under the VWP.