US VISIT Will Expand Biometric Scans

At its annual briefing, officials from US-VISIT disclosed the program has plans to begin pilot testing other biometrics to screen arriving foreign visitors at the nation’s international airports.

At the moment, US-VISIT has only been collecting fingerprints from foreign visitors to the United States. However, in the future they intend to begin looking at iris scans and facial recognition technology as a possible alternative and/or complement to fingerprints.  Iris and facial recognition technology have the potential to speed up the verification process as they involve the passive capture of the biometrics in contrast to fingerprint capture, which requires actions by the passenger.

US-VISIT staff mentioned that they would possibly begin a pilot test of iris scan technology at some Global Entry kiosks this year.  Dates and locations have yet to be determined.

For departing passengers, DHS is still trying to get a better handle on the costs and benefits of implementing a biometric exit system.

In the meantime, US-VISIT will focus on improving the biographical exit capabilities including better matching of entry records with airline departure manifests.