DHS outlines biometric exit progress for overstayers
08 August 2018 10:25 GMT

The Department of Homeland Security has reported in an annual report that more than 600,000 foreign travellers who entered the US legally last year ended up overstaying on those visas.

The report noted US government efforts to enforce overstay violations, including improving entry and exit data collection and reporting through biometrics.

The report writes: "CBP is committed to continuously improving existing biometric and biographic exit and entry processes. These initial biometric exit processes are providing new opportunities to verify an individual’s identity and facilitate collection of new biographic information on individuals where none previously existed".

Face first

It notes that CBP has developed a robust cloud-based service which uses facial recognition to match travelers against their photographs contained on their travel documents or from previous arrival processing.

"In FY 2017 CBP continued to expand integrated biometric exit projects with airports and airlines, and is moving to a seamless biometric exit collection process. As a result of the pilot programs described above, CBP believes that facial recognition technology at the airline departure gate is a scalable solution for biometric exit in the air environment."

But the report also notes that collection of departure information in the land environment is more difficult than in the air and sea environments due to the major physical, logistical, and operational obstacles involved with electronically collecting an individual’s biographic and biometric data.

This has required different solutions, for example BE-Mobile devices were used at three port locations along the southern border in 2017, providing CBP officers with the ability to capture the fingerprints of third country nationals departing the United States via the southern border.

Calling last year's pilots "a critical step forward towards implementing a comprehensive biometric entry and exit system", the agency said finally that "DHS will continue to develop and test the entry and exit system during FY 2018, both biometric and biographic, and this testing will improve CBP’s ability to capture and report this data accurately".