Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 28, 2003
Contact: CBP at 202-927-8727
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY UNVEILS
TECHNOLOGY FOR US-VISIT ENTRY AND EXIT PROCEDURES
WASHINGTON, DC, OCT. 28, 2003 – The
U.S. Department of Homeland Security today unveiled the capability it will
have in place at airports and seaports on December 31, 2003 to process
visitors holding visas as they enter the United States.
The US-VISIT program -- United States Visitor and Immigrant
Status Indicator Technology -- is a cornerstone of the Department’s
goals to improve border management at our ports of entry. By
capturing more complete arrival and departure data for those who require
a visa to enter the United States, the US-VISIT program will enhance
the security of our citizens and visitors while expediting legitimate
travel and trade.
“We are moving rapidly to complete development
and deploy the US-VISIT capability to meet the congressionally mandated
deadline of December 31, 2003,” said Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary
of Border & Transportation Security of the Department of Homeland
Security. “We are on target to achieve this first increment
of US-VISIT,” he said.
US-VISIT uses scanning equipment to collect “biometric
identifiers,” such as fingerprints, in an inkless process, along
with a digital photograph of the visitor. Together with the standard
information gathered from a visitor about their identity and travel,
the new program will verify the visitor’s identity and compliance
with visa and immigration policies. The new procedures are expected
to add just seconds to the entry and exit process.
All data obtained from the visitor is securely stored
as part of the visitor’s travel record. This information
is made available only to authorized officials and selected law enforcement
agencies responsible for ensuring the safety and security of U.S. citizens
and foreign visitors.
At exit points, visitors will check out at kiosks by
scanning their visa or passport and repeating the simple inkless fingerprinting
process. The exit confirmation will be added to the visitor’s
travel records to demonstrate compliance. Land border processing
will be introduced in phases in 2005 and 2006.
“All of these entry and exit procedures address
our critical need for tighter security and our commitment to expedite travel for
the millions of legitimate visitors we welcome each year to conduct
business, learn, see family or tour the country,” said Under
“The new program is designed to enhance the security
of U.S. citizens and visitors, expedite legitimate travel and trade,
ensure the integrity of the immigration system, and safeguard visitors’ personal
privacy,” Hutchinson continued.
The law requires that an automated entry/exit
system be implemented at air and seaports by December 31, 2003; the
50 most highly trafficked land ports of entry by December 31, 2004;
and all ports of entry by December 31, 2005.
DHS is working closely with the air and
sea industry to explain the requirements of the US-VISIT program. In
addition, the US-VISIT Project Team will partner with industry to ensure
the latest technologies available will be incorporated into US-VISIT. The
request for proposal will be issued in November 2003.
The US-VISIT program received $380 million for fiscal
year 2003 and was appropriated $330 million for fiscal year 2004.
For more information, visit http://www.dhs.gov/us-visit