Minneapolis starts biometric checks for international arrivals

CBP is now checking and storing biometrics from passengers arriving on international flights at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport (MSP).

The Simplified Arrival process uses facial recognition to check U.S. and non-U.S. passengers.

The facial recognition biometric checks automate the manual document checks that are already required and should speed arrivals.

When passengers arrive at MSP on an international flight, they have their facial biometrics taken at an egate. CBP systems compare the live picture taken at the egate to a small gallery of images that the passenger has already provided to the government, such as passport and visa photos.

If a passenger cannot be matched to a photo on record using the Simplified Arrival process, they will proceed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for entry into the United States. 

Passengers who wish to opt out of the new biometric checks may notify a CBP officer as they approach the primary inspection point. They will then go through the traditional process.

In addition, foreigners who have travelled to the U.S. previously will no longer need to provide fingerprints as their identity will be confirmed through the facial recognition process.


CBP gathers biometric data and biometrics of passengers. New photos of U.S. citizens will be deleted within 12 hours. Photos of most foreign nationals will be stored in a secure Department of Homeland Security system.

Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent nearly 350 imposters from illegally entering the United States by using genuine travel documents that were issued to other people.

CBP calls the process Biometric Facial Comparison. Friendlier sounding that facial recognition.

N.B. Image credit: CBP

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Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport (MSP)


CBP Biometric Facial Comparison