CBP expands facial recognition to Preclearance from Canada

The U.S. Simplified Arrival process uses facial recognition for foreigners

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is introducing its Simplified Arrival at eight Preclearance locations throughout Canada, beginning with Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

Simplified Arrival is an enhanced international arrival process that uses biometric facial comparison to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States.

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is already using Simplified Arrival. Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Montréal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (YUL), and Calgary International Airport (YYC) will introduce it in February.

CBP’s biometric facial comparison process compares the live picture of the passenger to a small gallery of high-quality images they have already provided to the U.S. government, such as passport and visa photos.

If the biometric matchup doesn’t work for any passenger, they can enjoy the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for entry into the United States.

How it works

  1. The passenger has their facial biometrics captures at the main inspection point
  2. A CBP officer reviews and queries the individual’s travel document, and then retrieves the passenger’s passport or visa photo from a government database
  3. The facial biometric technology compares the live biometics with those in the government database, which should be to the photo originally taken for their travel document

It is optional for now

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

Data protection

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 for decades.

N.B Image credit: CBP

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CBP and biometrics