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The U.S. State Department has just announced a change to a new rule affecting citizens from visa waiver program countries. The rule, scheduled to go into effect on 1 October 2003, requires visitors from these countries to obtain non-immigrant visas to enter the United States if they do not have machine-readable passports. The change announced is that a visa waiver country can petition the U.S. government to delay the rule by one year.

The State Department recommends that citizens of visa waiver program countries who are contemplating visiting the United States, and do not have machine-readable passports, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to find out if implementation of the rule has been temporarily waived for their countries.