US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has completed its nationwide rollout of the Simplified Arrival program. The facial recognition tech has now been deployed at every international airport in the United States, where it is being used to speed up the arrivals process for travelers entering the country.
The rollout has been ongoing for several years, though CBP accelerated its efforts in response to COVID-19. The pandemic created a greater need for contactless identity solutions, and Simplified Arrival allowed CBP to meet that demand with a streamlined biometric option.
“I am proud that CBP accomplished this critical milestone to deploy facial biometrics at entry at all U.S. airports and continues to play a significant role in the travel recovery efforts,” said CBP Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner Diane Sabatino. “The use of facial biometrics for identity verification brings travelers one step closer to a truly touchless process that is secure and streamlines travel while protecting their privacy and enhancing the customer experience.”
With Simplified Arrival, travelers are asked to stop for a photo at the immigration checkpoint. That photo is then compared to that person’s passport photo (or another photo in a government database). New images of US citizens are deleted within 12 hours, while the images of foreign nationals are stored indefinitely in a Department of Homeland Security database.
The facial comparison technology is 98 percent accurate. Those who cannot be cleared automatically are referred to a CBP agent for a manual review, as are those who wish to opt out of the biometric screening process. Foreign nationals who go through the Simplified Arrival screening no longer need to submit fingerprint biometrics to enter the United States.
As it stands, Simplified Arrival has already been used to screen more than 171 million travelers at land, sea, and air borders, and upwards of 1,450 imposters have been caught with facial recognition since 2018.
The Austin Bergstrom International Airport was one of the last airports to get Simplified Arrival, with CBP unveiling the service in March of this year. The technology is still being rolled out at sea and land borders, and has also been deployed at several pre-screening locations in Canada and other countries.
June 3, 2022 – by Eric Weiss