The US government has confirmed it is extending its deadline by a year for European countries to issue biometric passports, to enable their citizens to visit the country without needing an expensive visa.
The US had originally set an October deadline for the supposedly more secure biometric passports to be issued, but most countries said they wouldn’t meet the deadline. The UK says it won’t be ready until next year.
The UK government is preparing to issue passports that include fingerprints and iris scans.
With the US having put back its deadline, UK citizens will continue to benefit from the existing US visa waiver system, which allows travellers to visit the country for up to 90 days without a visa with their passport.
The European Commissioned had lobbied hard against the original deadline; and signs that the US was having second thoughts surfaced in the media last week.
The US feared the requirement for biometric passports this year would have put off business travellers and tourists visiting the country.