WASHINGTON – The countries of Andorra, Brunei and Liechtenstein on Thursday missed the U.S. deadline to begin issuing sophisticated new passports that contain an integrated circuit chip.
Twenty-four other countries required to meet the deadline succeeded, the Homeland Security Department said.
Citizens of the 27 countries, mostly in Europe, enjoy visa-free travel rights to the United States.
The requirement that the so-called "visa waiver" countries begin issuing tamperproof new passports arose from concerns about people using forged or stolen documents to enter the United States.
The Homeland Security Department says the new passports defend against identity theft and make it harder for people to cross borders using fake documents.
"The department is committed to shutting down the ability of terrorists and criminals to use false travel documents to move freely between our borders," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a statement.
The chip can contain expanded biographical information about the passport's holder. A tamper-proof digital photograph is also required.
Homeland Security said in a statement that it's working with the three countries to make sure they meet the requirement as soon as possible. Until then, travelers from those countries will need a visa to enter the United States.