CBP expands facial biometrics to Alabama Cruise Ship Terminal

CBP expands facial biometrics to Alabama Cruise Ship Terminal

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in partnership with Carnival Cruise Line, expanded the use of facial biometrics into the debarkation process at the Port of Mobile, AL, becoming the latest seaport to modernize efforts to revolutionize cruise travel.

“As we prepare for the increase in cruise travel around our nation’s ports, CBP is working closely with the cruise industry to make travel safer and more efficient, while also supporting travel recovery efforts,” said Steven Stavinoha, Director, Field Operations for CBP’s Gulf Coast Field Office. “The biometric facial comparison process adds an extra layer of security and streamlines travel into the United States by replacing the manual inspection of travel documents with a secure, touchless process.”

When debarking the cruise vessel at a U.S. seaport, passengers will pause for a photo that will be compared to the traveler’s existing passport or visa photo in secure DHS systems to biometrically verify their identity. Upon an efficient match, passengers are allowed to proceed through inspections and exit the terminal. This innovative entry process further secures and enhances the customer experience while protecting the privacy of all travelers. The enhanced arrival process using facial biometrics verifies the traveler’s identity within two seconds and is more than 98% accurate.

U.S. travelers and select foreign nationals who are not required to provide biometrics and wish to opt out of the new biometric process can simply request a manual document check from a CBP Officer consistent with existing requirements for admission into the United States.

Already in use at major air and land ports of entry, facial biometrics in the cruise environment will strengthen CBP’s enforcement capabilities at several of the nation’s cruise ports while also enhancing the customer experience. Additionally, CBP and its cruise partners have expanded data sharing agreements to further strengthen security in cruise travel.

Currently, more than 146 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land, and sea ports of entry. Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent more than 1,300 impostors using genuine travel documents from illegally entering the United States at air and land Ports of Entry. More information on CBP’s use of biometric facial comparison technology to secure and streamline the arrival and departure process can be found here.

CBP expands Simplified Arrival to Sweetgrass, Eastport Ports of Entry

CBP expands Simplified Arrival to Sweetgrass, Eastport Ports of Entry

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today the expansion of biometric facial comparison technology to the pedestrian border crossings at Sweetgrass and Eastport, Idaho, as part of CBP’s land border innovation efforts.

“I am pleased to announce the deployment of biometric facial comparison technology to these additional border crossings along the Northern Border,” said Seattle Director of Field Operations Brian Humphrey. “This enhanced technology will further secure and streamline travel while providing a safe, touchless identification process for travelers.”

Simplified Arrival is an enhanced international arrival process that uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States. This process provides travelers with a secure, touchless travel experience while fulfilling a longstanding Congressional mandate to verify the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.

The biometric facial comparison process occurs only at a time and place where travelers are already required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document. When a traveler arrives at one of the pedestrian lanes or undergoes I-94 processing, he or she will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point. A CBP officer will review and query the travel document, which will retrieve the traveler’s passport or visa photo from government holdings and compare it to the new photo.

This enhanced process using facial biometrics only takes a few seconds and is more than 98 percent accurate. In addition, foreign travelers who have traveled to the United States previously may no longer need to provide fingerprints, as their identity will be confirmed through the touchless facial biometric process.

CBP is committed to its privacy obligations and has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travelers. CBP has employed strong technical security safeguards and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the facial biometric process. New photos of U.S. citizens will be deleted within 12 hours. Photos of most foreign nationals will be stored in a secure U.S. Department of Homeland Security database.

U.S. travelers and select foreign nationals who are not required to provide biometrics and wish to opt out of the new facial biometric process may simply notify a CBP officer as they approach the primary inspection point and request a manual inspection. These travelers will be required to present a valid travel document for inspection by a CBP officer and will be processed consistent with long established processes for admission into the United States.

Simplified Arrival pairs one of the industry’s highest ranked facial comparison algorithms (as assessed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology) with trained CBP officers who are skilled at verifying the authenticity of travel documents. If a traveler cannot be matched to a photo on record using the Simplified Arrival process, the traveler will proceed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for admission into the United States.

To date, more than 100 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land, and seaports of entry. Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent more than 950 imposters from illegally entering the United States by using genuine travel documents that were issued to other people.

CBP, cruise lines partner to modernize entry process with facial biometrics

CBP, cruise lines partner to modernize entry process with facial biometrics

As cruise travel resumes this summer following suspension due to COVID-19, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is working with the cruise industry to make travel safer and more efficient.

As a model of CBP’s successful public-private partnerships, CBP worked closely with major cruise lines to implement facial biometric comparison technology in the arrival process at select seaports to further secure and enhance the inspection process for passengers returning to the United States at the end of their cruise.

“CBP and its cruise partners have revolutionized the cruise debarkation process for all travelers through facial biometrics and enhanced traveler processes,” said Diane J. Sabatino, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of Field Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “As part of the travel recovery efforts, travelers have the benefit of secure, touchless and streamlined entry procedures into the United States while CBP protects the privacy of all travelers.”

Already in use at major air and land Ports of Entry (POEs), facial biometrics in the cruise environment will strengthen CBP’s enforcement capabilities at several of the nation’s cruise ports while also enhancing the customer experience. Additionally, CBP and its cruise partners have expanded data sharing agreements to further strengthen security in cruise travel.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents more than 90% of global ocean-going cruise capacity, joined CBP in recognizing the importance of public-private partnership in enhancing the cruise experience and advancing the restart of operations from U.S. ports.

“The health, safety and security of passengers, crewmembers and the communities we visit is the cruise industry’s top priority and, to that end, the use of biometric technology in cruise terminals is showing impressive results,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of CLIA. “On behalf of the entire cruise community, CLIA looks forward to continuing to work in partnership with the U.S. Government to further advance the responsible return to service from U.S. ports, which is putting Americans back to work and offering travelers one of the best ways to experience the world.”

To date, facial biometric comparison technology is available at 12 seaports across the United States and has been successfully used to process arriving passengers on most cruise vessels that have resumed sailings in Florida and Texas.

“As we build back the travel industry, biometric technology will play an increasingly important role in ensuring a modern and more secure and efficient travel system for all,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “U.S. Travel commends CBP and its cruise line partners for their work to implement this important technology and safely restart cruising, a vital sector of the U.S. travel economy.”

The enhanced arrival process using facial biometrics verifies the traveler’s identity within two seconds and is more than 98 percent accurate. When debarking the cruise vessel at a U.S, seaport, passengers will pause for a photo that will be compared to the traveler’s existing passport or visa photo in secure DHS systems to biometrically verify their identity. Upon an efficient match, passengers collect their baggage and proceed through inspections and exit the terminal. U.S. travelers and select foreign nationals who are not required to provide biometrics and wish to opt out of the new biometric process can simply request a manual document check from a CBP Officer.

If a traveler cannot be matched to a photo on record through facial biometrics, the traveler will proceed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for admission into the United States.

Currently, more than 88 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land, and sea Ports of Entry. Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent more than 850 impostors using genuine travel documents from illegally entering the United States at air and land Ports of Entry. More information on biometric facial comparison technology can be found here.

ORD and MDW encourages travellers to use facial recognition

ORD and MDW encourages travellers to use facial recognition

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.