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CBP Introduces Simplified Arrival at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Release Date: 
January 27, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today the implementation of Simplified Arrival at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).Simplified Arrival

Simplified Arrival is an enhanced international arrival process that uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States. Facial biometrics provide travelers with a touchless process that further secures and streamlines international arrivals while fulfilling a longstanding congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.

“CBP is expanding the use of facial biometrics at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport to provide travelers a safe, touchless international arrival process that further secures and modernizes air travel,” said Diane J. Sabatino, CBP Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Field Operations.  “Collaborating with partners like the Metropolitan Airports Commission has enabled CBP to deliver a secure, streamlined travel process that will enhance the customer experience and support the travel recovery efforts.”

“The roll out of Simplified Arrival at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is an excellent example of CBP’s stakeholder engagement process to promote U.S. economic growth,” said Robert E White, CBP Director Field Operations – Chicago Field Office.

Simplified Arrival only uses the biometric facial comparison process at a time and place where travelers are already required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document. When travelers arrive at MSP on an international flight, they will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point. CBP’s biometric facial comparison process will compare the new photo of the traveler to a small gallery of high-quality images that the traveler has already provided to the government, such as passport and visa photos. In addition, foreign travelers who have traveled to the U.S. previously will no longer need to provide fingerprints as their identity will be confirmed through the touchless facial comparison process.

Simplified Arrival pairs one of the industry’s highest ranked facial comparison algorithms (as assessed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology) with trained CBP officers who are skilled at verifying the authenticity of travel documents. If a traveler cannot be matched to a photo on record using the Simplified Arrival process, the traveler will proceed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for entry into the United States. 

Travelers who wish to opt out of the new biometric process may notify a CBP officer as they approach the primary inspection point. These travelers 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.

CBP is committed to its privacy obligations and has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travelers. CBP has employed strong technical security safeguards and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the facial biometric process. 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.

CBP and its air travel partners are expanding the use of facial biometrics through public-private partnerships to not only fulfill the Congressional security mandate, but also to further secure and enhance touchless travel wherever identity verification is required for international travel. The Simplified Arrival process complements facial biometric boarding to further secure and enhance the customer experience.

To date, more than 60 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land and sea ports of entry. 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.

 More information about CBP’s efforts to secure and streamline travel through facial biometrics is available here.

Last modified: 
January 27, 2021
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