This is something that has been bugging me for quite some time since the issue with the biometric passports came up and I know this might be a stupid question I should ask my embassy or even the US embassy, but I just want to be sure now about this in the case I ever have to go to the US, either for transit or simply just stay there for less than 90 days. So please help me out (at least those who have a German passport like mine or who are into legal issues).
I have a German passport (the one in wine colour) which I got issued by the embassy in July 2004 and which expires in 2009 (it only runs 5 years because at the time I got my passport issued, I wasn't 26 years old). It looks like it's machine readable when I compare it a bit to the sample from this page on the Visa Waiver Programme, plus it has a few barely visible watermarks. But still, I have my doubts. Re-reading that site over and over again, I still don't quite understand what's up, because the wording is a bit confusing to me.
So, for the case I have to, can I use my current passport for entry into the US under the Visa Waiver Programme, or should I just get the biometric one, even if my current one hasn't expired? I need to know just in case.
And about those 90 days that are mentioned as the time I could stay in the US under the Visa Waiver Programme, is it 90 days total or 90 days a year? I'd appreciate any feedback on this.