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The U.S. State Department has announced that it is delaying by one year a new rule affecting citizens from visa waiver program countries. The new rule, which was 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 announced delay means that this rule will now go into effect 26 October 2004 instead.

The delay does not apply to five visa waiver countries—Andorra, Brunei, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Slovenia—because most of the citizens of these nations already carry passports that are machine-readable.