Senate Democrats

Reid Works to Protect Travel and Tourism Industry

Pressures Administration to set passport guidelines

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid announced today a major breakthrough for the travel and tourism industry. Reid has been pressuring the Administration to clarify guidelines for Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries. An agreement reached today will require VWP countries to produce passports with digital photographs by October 26th of this year, and to put plans in place to issue passports with integrated circuit chips by October 26th of next year.

“I am pleased we’re finally moving forward on this issue,” Senator Reid said. “The travel and tourism industry is critical to the United States economy and the issue is all the more pressing because of homeland security concerns. While this will put us on the right path for a long term solution, I am disappointed it took the White House so long to clarify the guidelines.”

Millions of visitors from VWP countries come to the United States every year, and without the clarification the travel and tourism industry was facing a major disruption.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries include: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.