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DHS Proposes Changes to the Method of Biometric Data Collection at Port of Entry and Departure

7 Dec

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently announced a rulemaking proposal that would permit biometric data collection at all U.S. port of departures. Since 2004, the U.S. has collected biometric data from certain foreign nationals entering the country through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) air, sea, and land per locations. However, to date, there is not a comprehensive system in place to collect biometric data from foreign nationals departing the United States. Collecting biometric data from foreign nationals departing the United States is currently limited to pilot programs at land ports and up to 15 airports and seaports.  

With a potentially expanded screening base, a comprehensive biometrics system will seek to match records and biographical data of any foreign national entering and departing the United States. Biometric data for each foreign national traveler may include the traveler’s name, date of birth, travel document number, as well as physical and behavioral characteristics. By collecting and storing comprehensive data for foreign national travelers, DHS’s stated aim is to decrease the fraudulent use of travel documents, prevent unlawful stays in the United States, as well as increase overall national security.   

In its initial stages, facial recognition technology will first be used in commercial airports. Eventually, the technology may be expanded to use at all air, sea, and land ports of entry. If the proposed amendment is approved, DHS believes fully implementing the new biometric collection system, including facial recognition technology, may be accomplished within three to five years. 

Foster will continue to monitor changes in travel procedures and requirements, and will make additional updates available via our firm’s website at