U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has enhanced the Global Entry process with facial biometrics at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Midway International Airport (MDW) to further secure and enhance travel while supporting the travel recovery efforts.

Global Entry is CBP’s premiere Trusted Traveler program that allows pre-approved, low-risk travellers to receive expedited clearance upon arrival into the United States at select airports. Participation in the program is open to U.S. citizens, nationals, and permanent residents as well as the citizens of 12 other countries. Citizens and residents of Canada who are NEXUS members are eligible to receive Global Entry benefits too. The cost to apply for Global Entry membership is $100, and the process includes a rigorous background check, biometrics (face image and fingerprints), and an interview with a CBP officer to determine eligibility.

When Global Entry members approach a kiosk with biometric facial comparison technology at an airport, they will pause for a photo just as they would during traditional kiosk processing, for the international arrivals process, and at select departure locations.

CBP will use biometric facial comparison technology to match the new photo against images that the member has already provided for their passport and Global Entry enrollment photos. The kiosk will inform the traveller how to proceed, based on the results of the matching process.

Global Entry members will not be required to swipe their passports or submit fingerprints when using the new or upgraded Global Entry kiosks. However, CBP will continue to require prospective members to provide passport information and fingerprints to CBP when applying to the program.

The new process will only apply to Global Entry members and NEXUS members who receive Global Entry benefits. Global Entry and NEXUS are voluntary programs that include a fee and provide travellers with expedited travel at select U.S. ports of entry.

“The enhanced facial biometric process is secure, touchless and will enhance the customer experience when arriving in the United States,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago. “I would encourage all travellers to take advantage of this benefit to streamline entry.”

CBP takes its privacy obligations very seriously and is dedicated to protecting the privacy of all travelers. CBP has employed strong technical security safeguards and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the new facial biometric process. CBP discards new photos of U.S. citizens within 12 hours. Foreign travelers who are required to provide photos upon entry will have their images stored in a secure Department of Homeland Security system as part of their travel record.

If for some reason the system cannot match the Global Entry member to an image on record, the system will simply revert to the existing process. The traveler would be prompted to swipe his/her passport and submit his/her fingerprints.