US tourism chiefs are urging their government to find a
solution to the introduction of visas and biometric passports for
overseas visitors.

Biometric passports for all 27 countries in the US’s
visa-waiver scheme, including the UK, are set to become a
requirement on October 26. But most countries in the scheme are not
ready to issue them.

Speaking at US trade show Pow Wow in New York, Travel Industry
Association of America director of government affairs Richard
Webster said one of two solutions will be most likely: either a six
to 12-month delay on the October deadline; or a rethink on what
meets biometric requirements.

Webster said: “It could be that passports don’t need a
chip at first. All passports will eventually have one, but as an
interim measure, a different type of biometric data may be
acceptable.”

TIA president Roger Dow said a decision needs to be made soon.
“When someone reads in the media that they may not be able to
come here in October, they are going to plan to go somewhere else
on holiday,” he said.