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Godalming, United...
posts: 446
reviews: 9


I've just read that if you're a British citizen not in possession of a "machine-readable" passport you will need a Visa to enter the United States.

Is this true?

I have one of the newer passports but my girlfriend has an old style one. Will she need to get it replaced or apply for a visa?

We're flying over in August for two weeks.

Godalming, United...
posts: 446
reviews: 9
1. Re: Visa?

Ignore me, I think I'm talking rubbish. Just found this link that explains "machine-readable" passports are those issued after 1991. I thought it meant the new ones that can detect your photo.


Can someone confirm we'll be alright just to put my mind at ease? Both our passports were issued in the last 10 years so are reasonably new.

Lisburn, United...
posts: 1,642
reviews: 1
2. Re: Visa?

Yes you are fine :)

posts: 1,733
reviews: 27
3. Re: Visa?

Old style as in not machine readable?! I find that highly unlikely. All passports issued after 1991 will be machine readable.

I think you're getting confused between machine readable and biometric.

Biometric have a page in the passport with a chip, machine readable have 2 lines of text at the bottom of the picture page.

This should look something like


You're fine for the Visa Wavier online application :-)

Godalming, United...
posts: 446
reviews: 9
4. Re: Visa?

I've travelled to about 30 different countries, you'd think I'd know what I'm talking about!

What a plum.

Cheers Beverley

Now how do I delete this thread...;)

Edited: 6:43 am, June 14, 2013
Watford, United...
posts: 4,472
reviews: 12
5. Re: Visa?

Click on 'report appropriate content' in your opening post and choose 'remove my post'.

posts: 314
reviews: 3
6. Re: Visa?

My passport was issued in 2007 and is a biometric one as far as I know. It has a chip and copper wire (I think) in the back page. Is this machine readable?

posts: 1,733
reviews: 27
7. Re: Visa?

ALL passports given after 1991 are machine readable. As i said a couple of posts up, if it has the 2 lines of text at the bottom of the picture page, it is machine readable :)

Godalming, United...
posts: 446
reviews: 9
8. Re: Visa?

Rather than start a new thread, I'll ask another stupid question here.

Does every UK citizen holidaying in the US need an ESTA before they travel? (Presuming they don't already have a visa).

I think I already know the answer but I like to double check everything!

posts: 2,369
reviews: 34
9. Re: Visa?

yes you need an ESTA

Godalming, United...
posts: 446
reviews: 9
10. Re: Visa?

Thought as much. I only realised due to reading threads on here.

So we've got our passports, our ESTAs and our flight confirmations - anything else we've missed?!