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TIA Applauds Biometric Passport Decision

The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) applauded the announcement by the Administration concerning the biometric passport requirement for Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers entering the United States.
“This announcement means millions of overseas visitors from our biggest markets can continue to travel here visa-free,” said Roger J. Dow, TIA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “This is critical to our nation’s economy, our diplomatic efforts with key allies and it helps to enhance our image abroad. The ‘welcome mat’ is indeed still out for all visitors.”
TIA, along with dozens of other travel organizations and individual travel companies, has been lobbying aggressively for either an extension of the biometric passport deadline or some other administrative solution that would guarantee the continuation of visa-free travel for millions of visitors from the 27 Visa Waiver Program countries.
“This is a great example of the travel industry pulling together to accomplish an important objective,” Dow said.
The announcement from the Department of Homeland Security would permit travelers to continue coming here from VWP countries with passports that feature a high-resolution digital photo that is securely embedded in the document, even as countries continue to work toward the eventual goal of incorporating biometric identifiers on chips in the passports. The result is that prospective visitors can continue to book trips to the United States with confidence that documentary rules will not interfere with their travels to the U.S.
Nearly 14 million visitors entered the U.S. from a Visa Waiver Program country in 2004.
“On behalf of TIA, I wish to publicly thank House Judiciary Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner and others in Congress for their leadership in helping to achieve this positive result,” Dow said. “This decision demonstrates fairness and flexibility on the part of the federal government, and sends a very positive signal to foreign governments and overseas visitors alike.”