Govt House Sought HMPO Guidance On Solution

March 15, 2017

Government House has been liaising with Her Majesty’s Passport Office [HMPO] on a “solution to the difficulties some passport holders are encountering on travelling to the US and await their response,” a Government House spokesperson said.

Passport Issue

Some Bermudians have been experiencing issues at some United States borders outside of Bermuda, with those affected using passports printed in the UK after May 2016.

“The British Overseas Territories Citizen [BOTC] Bermuda passports affected are those printed by HMPO in the United Kingdom. BOTC Bermuda passports that were printed by the Bermuda Passport Office, Department of Immigration are not affected,” Minister of Home Affairs Patricia Gordon-Pamplin previously said.

“The new BOTC Bermuda passport is readable and contains a biometric chip. However, the code that is causing the problem is “GBD” as opposed to “BMU” which used to be the code included on the passport data page.

“This code has now been replaced with “GBD” which is the same code used for all overseas territories. It should be noted that most other Overseas Territories require a visa which adds to the confusion.”

“It is our fervent belief that actions taken by HMPO should not render our citizens less advantaged than what we enjoyed prior to this change. Therefore you can be assured that my Ministry is working assiduously to find options that may assist in eliminating this problem,” the Minister said.

Government House Comment

When asked what Government House is doing to assist, a spokesperson told Bernews, “Government House has been liaising with HMPO who advise that the issuing code of the UK-issued BOTC passport is one of the security features of these new passports.

“We have sought HMPO guidance on a solution to the difficulties some passport holders are encountering on travelling to the US and await their response. Meanwhile our US colleagues have confirmed there has been no change to Bermuda’s visa-free status for travel to the US.”

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Comments (10)

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  1. frank says:

    Just give everyone a new passport free

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    Or I can spend a few dollars and get an ESTA which will show up on the computer of US Immigration authorities even though I should not really need one for my Bermuda passport

  3. Disappointment says:

    It is $15 for an ESTA. While I understand that having to spend the money should not be the solution if you want to have hassle free travel then lets face it the per trip cost of having the ESTA versus the hassles involved in being stopped and interviewed far outweighs the point of not wishing to pay the processing fee.

  4. Bill Andrews says:

    I believe that the visa-free entry with a Bermuda passport only applies to airline or land entry to USA from a Western Hemisphere port of exit. That means a visa is required for airline entry from, for example, UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, etc., which are all in the Eastern Hemisphere (this is often not enforced). Also, a visa is required if arriving by sea with a Bermuda passport, even from a Bermuda port of exit (personal experience on this). The simple solution seems to be to get an ESTA, but that may only allow a 90 day visit, whereas we normally get 180 days via entry from Bermuda.

  5. clearasmud says:

    The issue only affects our special relationship with the US so it makes sense that the solution comes from the US. Bottom line just get the ESTA

  6. Triangle Drifter says:

    It is now March 2017. The mistake has been going on since May 2016. Over 9 months. What is the hold up? Will passports currently in the works have the BMU in the line or are we no further ahead than May 2016?

    Where did the blunder occur? Why was it not caught & dealt with much sooner?

    • help says:

      Do you all seriously think that the Uk government made a mistake here? Seriously you are fools if you think so!

  7. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    The solution is simple, the Passport Office needs to update their policies and procedures to recognize that if they are going to be responsible for printing all UK and territories’ passports, they need to make sure the correct coding goes into the correct passport, in accordance to the appropriate treaties that have been negotiated for the different territories. Some territories may in fact fall under the GBR code, but we have our own as we have a different travel treaty with the US, and the Passport Office should be legally required to ensure the correct code is in the correct passport. They aren’t just printing for one treaty now, so they need to update their system to comply.

  8. help says:

    Also do you really think they care about correcting it if at all?

  9. Dread says:

    What is on that new security code that is blocking travel. Their must be more to this. Is it that the US cannot read the code or is the information on that code classified or cannot be obtained by the US customs..I think that the problem might be that the passport might claim British citizen whilst the code might state Bermudian making it two passports in one.