Going to the US? Check your passport ASAP – and your rights if it goes wrong

New US visa waiver rules mean 100,000s of Brits now need a new passport to visit the US, and many have been caught out as a result, with some missing flights or even forced to cancel their trip. Here's how to check your passport, what to do if you've not got an e-passport and what your rights are if you've been turned back.

From 1 April, British passport-holders travelling to the US have needed a biometric passport (e-passport) in order to use the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) scheme.

Planning to travel later this year? Check your passport now

If you're not flying to the US imminently but are planning to travel at some point this year, it's important to check ASAP if you need a new passport.

If your passport was issued on or after 26 October 2006, it's an e-passport. If it was issued before then, you'll need to check for the e-passport symbol on the front of your document.

If you do need a new passport but not urgently, you can apply online and pay £72.50, or apply through the Post Office's 'Check and Send' service for £82.25. This process normally takes three weeks, but it can take up to six at peak times, so only do this if you're sure you've enough time before you travel.

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