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LTU932
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Machine-Readable Passport Question

Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:42 pm

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.

- Richie  Confused
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
DTManiac
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RE: Machine-Readable Passport Question

Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:49 pm

Gig 'em Aggies!!!
 
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LTU932
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RE: Machine-Readable Passport Question

Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:01 pm

Thanks for the link, Frederik, but it still leaves room for doubt for me in some way (maybe it's just the legal wording used on both the DOS site and the one from the AA).

So bottom line, I should still be fine then, right?
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
BDKLEZ
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RE: Machine-Readable Passport Question

Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:48 pm

Richie, here goes.

You have a machine readable passport if the bottom of the photograph page looks something like this. This is an example of a British passport, but the data will be in the same place on a German, or in fact, any other passport that is indeed machine readable.



In terms of it's validity, for you I've enclosed a link below to the text from IATA's TIMATIC document which details the document requirements for individuals travelling from and to or between any two or any number of countries. This information is contastantly updated and it is currently valid, and in this example I've assumed that you are a German national travelling on a German passport with a final destination of the USA.

http://www.timaticweb.com/cgi-bin/ti...above&user=EASYJET&subuser=EASYJET

The long and short of it is as follows. If you hold a machine readable passport issued by an EU member state then you qualify to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Programme. It doesn't concern you in this case as you passport was issued in July 2004, but for information anyway, a passport issued after 26 October 2005 will have to be issued with a digital photgraph and not a traditional passport photograph. One other thing, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date from the US which if I understand correctly, it will be.

Happy travels, you'll be fine with what you've got!

  

[Edited 2006-06-29 09:48:25]
Trespassers will be shot; survivors will be shot again!
 
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LTU932
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RE: Machine-Readable Passport Question

Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:10 pm

Thank you for the explanation, it's very clear!  Smile

Since I'm currently residing in a country next to the Carribean (Costa Rica to be exact), there might be a problem, should I go to the US, because of this:

Quote:
- holds onward/return ticket (or electronic ticket record or return passages) with a final destination to a country other than Canada, Mexico or countries/islands situated in or bordering the Caribbean Sea, unless passenger holds proof of residence in or transits to such country/islands, in which case onward/return ticket to that country accepted.

Now, since I have dual citizenship (my Mother is Costa Rican and I was born here, so I'm a German and Costa Rican citizen), this could still pose a problem then, right, as the only means of proving residence is my Costa Rican ID (despite the dual citizenship, I only hold the German passport (I have to get my German ID once I'm back) for travel abroad and use the regular Costa Rican ID for residency purposes and for the local elections).

But at least, if I'm going from Europe and have to go through the US, or if I go to the US for a vacation, I should be fine then. Again, thanks for the explanation, BDKLEZ!  Smile
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
BDKLEZ
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RE: Machine-Readable Passport Question

Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:27 pm

I've ran the data again for you on the basis that you're a resident of Costa Rica and the results are more or less exactly the same as far as I can see. Here's the text so you can check for yourself.

http://www.timaticweb.com/cgi-bin/ti...above&user=EASYJET&subuser=EASYJET

Regards re-entering Costa Rica, as you have a valid residency permit issued by the Costa Rican authorities then that will be sufficient. The fact that you hold such a document means that you would have been required to produce a valid passport etc in order for that document to be issued and following on from that, the fact that you still hold that residents permit is sufficient to show that the Costa Rican authorities are happy for you to remain there. You will not face any difficulties re-entering Costa Rica with your German passport, but don't forget your Costa Rica residents card!

 wave 
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LTU932
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RE: Machine-Readable Passport Question

Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:41 pm

Quoting BDKLEZ (Reply 5):
Regards re-entering Costa Rica, as you have a valid residency permit issued by the Costa Rican authorities then that will be sufficient.

It's not a residency card, it's regular citizen's ID because like I said, I have full dual German-Costa Rican citizenship. I cannot even renounce my Costa Rican citizenship because it's actually forbidden to voluntarily give it up according to the laws of this country, this after Franklin Chang had to become an American citizen and forfeit his citizenship in Costa Rica, so he could work as an Astronaut for NASA (I believe that law is called the Franklin Chang Act). But in the end, it probably doesn't matter anyway, since the next time I'd travel through the US, it will be back to my native Germany. The question of when I'll move back to Europe is different, because I'd need at least $10,000, so I can spend the first few months in the country and looking for a job, which is already difficult as hell in Germany with the high unemployment rate.

The door is technically open, that's what matters to me.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
BDKLEZ
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RE: Machine-Readable Passport Question

Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:48 pm

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 6):
It's not a residency card, it's regular citizen's ID because like I said, I have full dual German-Costa Rican citizenship. I cannot even renounce my Costa Rican citizenship because it's actually forbidden to voluntarily give it up according to the laws of this country

That's even better and a bonus really! Anyway, happy travels and good luck!
Trespassers will be shot; survivors will be shot again!
 
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LTU932
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RE: Machine-Readable Passport Question

Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:50 pm

Quoting BDKLEZ (Reply 7):
happy travels and good luck!

Thanks!

- Richie
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208

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