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House Approves Delay For Biometric Passports

June 16, 2004

House Approves Delay For Biometric Passports
June 16, 2004 – The House voted Monday in favor of H.R. 4417, a bill that would give the 27 Visa Waiver Program countries one additional year to begin producing new passports containing biometric technology.

Many within the travel industry, including NTA, expressed its support of the Bush Administration proposal to extend the deadline for Visa Waiver Program nations to distribute such passports to their citizens. These countries originally faced an October 26, 2004 deadline for compliance.

In a letter written in late April to House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., NTA stated, "The National Tour Association continues to support a secure travel experience for all inbound travelers to the United States."

According to USA Today, Sensenbrenner, the bill’s sponsor, said many countries under the visa waiver program, such as Belgium, are making significant progress toward biometric passports. He said Austria, Denmark and Slovenia have developed working prototypes.

The Senate must still approve the bill.

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