U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 28, 2003
Contact: CBP at 202-927-8727
US-VISIT FACT SHEET
The Goals of US-VISIT are to:
- Enhance the security of our citizens and visitors
- Expedite legitimate travel and trade
- Ensure the integrity of the immigration system
- Safeguard the personal privacy of our visitors
How it works: Entry
- Many of the entry procedures in place today remain
unchanged and are familiar to international travelers.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers will review
travel documents, such as a visa and passport, and ask
questions about the visitor’s stay in the U.S.
- The new, inkless fingerprint scanner is easy to use. The
visitor will be asked to put one and then the other index
finger on a glass plate that will electronically capture
- Visitors also will be asked to look into a camera and
their picture will be taken. This can be done while
fingerprinting is in process.
- The enhancements to the entry procedures add minimal
time to the process – only seconds in most cases.
How it works: Exit
- The exit procedures at airports and seaports will be
phased in, becoming operational in 2004.
- At the international departure area, visitors will
see automated, self-service kiosks where they will be asked
to scan their travel documents and repeat the fingerprinting
process on the inkless device. Attendants will
be available to assist with the process.
- The exit confirmation will be added to the visitor’s
travel records to demonstrate compliance and record the
individual’s status for future visits to the United
- The addition of biometric identifiers, such as fingerprints,
makes our security system more effective than names databases
- Biometric identifiers also protect our visitors by
making it virtually impossible for anyone else to claim
their identity should their travel documents be stolen
- By combining these entry and exit processes, and by
securely storing the travel records, we can account for
visitors who require a visa for travel to the U.S.
- US-VISIT procedures are designed to be easy. The
enhanced entry procedures at airports and seaports add
minimal time – in most cases only seconds – to
the immigration process, which typically takes 60-90 seconds
without US-VISIT procedures.
And Respecting Privacy and the Environment
- Travel data will be securely stored, and is made available
only to authorized officials and selected law enforcement
agencies on a need-to-know basis to help protect the nation
against those who intend harm to our citizens or our visitors.
- Studies are underway to ensure that the US-VISIT process
will not adversely affect the environment.
US-VISIT: Timing and Delivery
- The Department of Homeland Security is aggressively
working to meet the Congressional end-of-year deadline
to have in place an entry and exit system that strengthens
security through identity verification and expedites travel
for legitimate visitors while respecting their privacy
and our environment.
- The Department of Homeland Security is also on track
to meet the Secretary’s deadline to implement technology
at the primary inspection locations that will collect and
verify biometric information -- fingerprints and photos
-- of foreign nationals who are required to obtain a visa
to enter the United States.
- The entry enhancements to the immigration process – taking
fingerprints and photos -- will be operative in 115 airports
and 14 major seaports by early 2004.
- As of early 2004, the entry enhancements
to the immigration process -- taking fingerprints and photos
-- will be operative in 115 airports, giving us the capability
to verify the identity of 100% of the international travelers
who come to the U.S. by air. By early 2004, entry enhancements
will be operative at 14 major seaports.
- Exit procedures will be operational at as many as ten
major airports and at one seaport. Visitors requiring
a visa to travel to the United States who
leave from one of those sea or airports will check out
to confirm their compliance with immigration policies.
- Exit procedures will be phased in at the remaining
major airports and seaports in early 2004.
- Entry and exit enhancements at land borders will be
phased in throughout 2005 and 2006.
- This equipment has been delivered and is being installed
at airports and seaports.
- The US-VISIT program received $380 million for FY 03
and has been appropriated $330 million for FY 04. A
spending plan must be submitted to the GAO and appropriations
committees for approval before funds are obligated.
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