passport, map, sim cardsOn May 9, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a statement clarifying that as part of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, those individuals utilizing the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) with an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to travel to the United States must have an e-Passport as of April 1, 2016.  This was initially announced in August 2015 to give foreign travelers notice to obtain a new passport, if necessary.  If a traveler does not have an e-Passport but is otherwise eligible to travel under the VWP, he or she will need to apply for a valid nonimmigrant visa obtained from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad before traveling to the U.S.

The e-Passport is an enhanced secure passport that has an embedded electronic chip.  It conforms to international standards for securing and storing information for both the passport and the passport holder.