U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently reminded Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers that effective July 1, 2009, all VWP emergency or temporary passports must be electronic. Under the VWP, an e-Passport contains an integrated chip that stores biographic data, a digitized photograph, and other information about the true bearer as indicated by a symbol on the passport cover. In lieu of an e- Passport, foreign nationals may apply for visitor’s visas from the State Department instead of traveling through the VWP.
CBP may exercise discretion for those who do not have e- Passports if they are traveling for medical or other emergency reasons.
The announcement is available here.