Resolving a coding problem with Bermudian passports causing “distress and disruption” for some travellers, has been flagged as an “urgent priority” by the Ministry of National Security..
Minister Wayne Caines said today (Sunday, August 11) that he was “keenly aware of Bermudians travelling with Bermuda passports experiencing additional questioning or delays at some international borders”.
The problem was not due to changes with the US Customs and Border Protection procedures or US immigration law, said the Minister.
“The problem has arisen from the electronic coding of Bermuda BOTC passports, which for security reasons are now issued from the UK.
“Despite guidance issued by the International Air Transport Association confirming that Bermudian BOTC passport holders remain eligible for visa free travel to the US, difficulties continue to be encountered with some airlines and airline agents.”
A joint working group with the Passport Office in Britain has been created to try to fix the problem, he added.
“It is clear that the current situation has caused distress and disruption in a number of cases and Government House is in close touch with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on this matter.”
He also noted that a document which explains the US visa exemptions for Bermuda can be found on the US Consulate website.
All Bermudian passport holders were urged to visit the website to print a copy of the exemption to carry with their passport “until a solution is found”.
Bermudian passport holders may also consider applying for a US visa before travelling as another option.
Instructions on how to obtain the visa can be found on the US Consulate’s website, which has a document that explains the US visa exemption for Bermuda. The document can be accessed by clicking here.
“Until a solution is found, I advise all Bermudian passport holders to visit the website, download and print a copy, and carry it along with their passport for the duration of any overseas travel,” said Mr Caines.
“Please be mindful that presenting the card does not guarantee action by an airline representative or immigration official.
“Travellers have still experienced difficulties, including being denied boarding and/or missing flights, even after presenting this document.”