U.S. Consulate Statement On Passport/Visa Issue

March 2, 2017

Saying that they “recently became aware that some Bermudians were experiencing additional questions or delays at some international borders,” the U.S. Consulate said that “immigration policy related to Bermuda has not changed and Bermudians do not require a visa to enter the United States, as has been long-standing policy.”

The U.S. Consulate added the issue is because the “newly issued UK Overseas Territory passports no longer designate Bermuda separate from other UK Overseas Territories, most of which do require visas to enter the United States,” adding that “obtaining a U.S. visa could reduce or eliminate additional questions at international borders due to the elimination of Bermuda’s unique designation code.”

Bermuda Department of Immigration In Discussions With Aim Of Resolving Problem

Last night, a Department spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Passport Office, Department of Immigration is aware of the current issue with the new BOTC [Bermuda] passport and has had discussions with Her Majesty’s Passport Office [HMPO], the Deputy Governor, the US Consul General, and United States Custom and Border Protection, [USCBP,Bermuda], with the aim of resolving the problem.

“BOTC [Bermuda] passport holders are being told by authorities of various countries that they need a US visa to enter the US.

“The new passport is readable and contains a biometric chip. However, the code in question is GBD, the nationality code for British Dependent Territories, as BMU, the country code for Bermuda, is no longer included on the passport data page; this is the real issue.

“To be clear, the passports affected are those that were issued after May 2016 and are printed in the UK by the HMPO. We should also emphasize that the problem is occurring at ports of entry other than the US preclearance at the LF Wade International Airport.

“Until a resolution is achieved, travelers with a BOTC [Bermuda] passport issued after May 2016 may be asked to obtain a US visa.

“In such cases, they are advised to cooperate with the authorities of various countries to avoid extreme delays in their travel plans. The Bermuda Government will continue to work expeditiously to resolve the issue and will update the general public accordingly.”

U.S. Consulate in Bermuda’s Statement

“U.S. immigration policy related to Bermuda has not changed and Bermudians do not require a visa to enter the United States, as has been long-standing policy, ” said a statement posted on the Consulate’s website today.

“The U.S. Consulate General recently became aware that some Bermudians were experiencing additional questions or delays at some international borders.

“After looking into the issue, we discovered that newly issued UK Overseas Territory passports no longer designate Bermuda separate from other UK Overseas Territories, most of which do require visas to enter the United States.

“Without its own unique designation, Bermudians with newly-issued British Overseas Territories passports might be asked about visas when entering the United States from other countries. We referred the issue to Government House and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at LF Wade International Airport are fully aware of the new designation for Bermudians in the new Overseas Territories passports and are able to routinely process visa-free entry to the United States from Bermuda per standard practice.

“Obtaining a U.S. visa could reduce or eliminate additional questions at international borders due to the elimination of Bermuda’s unique designation code.

“Again, this situation is not due to any changes in U.S CBP procedures and U.S Immigration Law relating to Bermudian Nationals admission into the United States.

“The decision to apply for a visa is up to each individual traveler. Prospective applicants should follow instructions on the U.S. Consulate’s website: bm.usconsulate.gov/visas.”

Problems Occurring At International Ports

The Bermuda Department of Immigration said, “We should also emphasize that the problem is occurring at ports of entry other than the US preclearance at the LF Wade International Airport.”

The U.S. Consulate said, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at LF Wade International Airport are fully aware of the new designation for Bermudians in the new Overseas Territories passports and are able to routinely process visa-free entry to the United States from Bermuda per standard practice.”

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Comments (14)

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  1. Terry says:

    Then tell that to the HSA at ports of entry.
    More bulls..t.

  2. Point boy says:

    The kids, now men, me included. Busted for one joint at 18! On the stop list!

    LMFAO

    I got a waiver. Do you??

    One Step Forward, then stop. Take three back!

    • I blame Faye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Makeda says:

      Why the heck don’t they just go back to the old way of obtaining a passport? Process them in Bermuda it was much easier. Why did they change anyway?

  3. VIP says:

    Forget applying for a visa. The US Govt is trying to make more money by turning a bad situation, which is no fault under their administration into a profit$$$$$$$$.

    Use your UK passport if you have one and APPLY for a Esta.

    The UK is part of the Visa Waiver Program, which enables citizens of the UK to travel to the United States without a visa. On January 12, 2009, ESTA (the Electronic System for Travel Authorization) became a requirement of the Visa Waiver Program.

    ESTA is an application system for all travelers from Visa Waiver Countries, including the UK. The Visa Waiver Program has simplified travel to the United States for millions of visitors by only requiring a machine readable passport.

    Now, due to heightened security regulations, the same visitors must apply for a Travel Authorization (ESTA) in advance. As always, a machine-readable or e-passport from a Visa Waiver country is still required to gain admittance into the country.

    The entire ESTA application process is conducted online and operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    The Travel Authorization is not a visa. In fact a person from a non-visa waiver country should not even attempt to apply for a Travel Authorization.

    The purpose of ESTA is to allow DHS to pre-screen all Visa Waiver Travelers before they leave their respective countries. U.S.-bound UK travelers are recommended to apply for the Travel Authorization at least 72 hours prior to departure.

    An approved Travel Authorization does not guarantee entry, but is a prerequisite to travel to the United States by air or sea carrier. I don;t even use my Bermuda passport anymore and I travel every 4 weeks for business.

  4. Ya serious says:

    This whole story doesn’t make me feel any better. Now I have to apply for something because of a mistake in my sons passport? My wife and I have the correct BMU in our passports but my son has GBR.

  5. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    we gave up our land for use in WW11 for two bases here K.A.F.B. and N.O.B.

    • A Chap called Vanz says:

      Big deal.
      Millions of people gave their lives.

  6. E Wart says:

    Some bermudians will complain because they think they are ‘spashul’ cos we say good morning.

  7. Triangle Drifter says:

    How did this happen? Did somebody not proof read before the master passport for Bermudian use was sent to the printers? Was that done here or Blighty?

  8. Oh,I see now says:

    I know it’s frightening but hey ,welcome to the rest of the world Bermy.Our sheltered lifestyle and Bermuda is another world attitude growing up has not prepared us for real world travel hurdles.Right now we are in a somebody better fix this phase,this too shall pass.We are travelers that’s part of who we are and in time we will adapt……Don’t get me started on Trumps foreign travel /border policies.All I’m saying is prepare yourself.

    Forewarned is to be forearmed

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      Don’t get you started on trumps policies..?? Obviously you are misinformed if his policies bother you.

  9. Kathy says:

    Let’s face it…we are not an independent nation BMU rather still a dependent territory. So, the UK has to put GBD. No option!

    The US should be able to differentiate our passports by looking at the COVER where it says Government of Bermuda and educatimg their officers that we don’t need a visa!!!

  10. Waiting and Wondering says:

    We have such a sense if entitlement. It is a recognized mistake that had been made and will time to correct.

    With all the problems the world is facing, you think America is going to put us 60,000 people on top of their “to do” list?

    Snap out of it