U.S. law affects Austrians, French, and Italians who wish to visit the
U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program
Through the so-called
"Visa Waiver Program", most European citizens have the benefit of being
able to travel to the U.S. without obtaining a visa, if they are only
coming for business or tourist purposes and their stay is not longer than
This is about to change
for some Austrians, Frenchmen, and Italians.
The Austrian, the
French, and the Italian government are the only three European visa waiver
countries which did not implement the required changes to keep their
citizens eligible for the visa waiver program, if their citizens apply for
a passport after October 26, 2005.
This does not affect
citizens of these countries who currently hold a machine-readable
passport. Hence passports issued before October 26, 2005 will most
likely enable their holders to come to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver
Program. Only persons who need to get their passport renewed soon
are potentially concerned.
Until this is changed,
citizens of the above mentioned countries should therefore try to apply
for a new passport or a revalidation of their current one if it is due to
expire soon BEFORE October 26, 2005, when the new law comes into effect.
The affected citizens
should try to avoid obtaining a passport after October 26, 2005 and before
their government changes the requirements for their passports to comply
with the U.S. requirements.
Austria is likely to
enact such legislation in summer of 2006. Italy and France are
currently in the process of changing their laws, which will possibly be
effective at the beginning of 2006.
Persons who are not
eligible for the visa waiver program have to apply with the U.S. Consulate
in their country for a business or tourist visitor visa, which requires
many documents and is time intensive.
you have any questions concerning this notice, please contact an