Facial comparison technology promotes seamless travel experience
DALLAS — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched Simplified Arrival at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport delivering a seamless and more touchless travel experience for travelers returning from an international trip and arriving here.
Simplified Arrival is an enhanced international arrival process that uses biometric facial comparison technology to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States.
“We are proud to bring Simplified Arrival to DFW,” said CBP Director of Field Operations Jud Murdock. “With this program, CBP has reduced the need to capture fingerprints and handle travel documents thus minimizing the direct contact between our officers and the traveling public.”
Simplified Arrival only uses facial comparison technology 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 DFW on an international flight, they will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point. CBP’s biometric facial matching service 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 algorithm (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 be processed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for entry into the United States.
“DFW Airport’s top priority is the well-being and security of our customers, employees and community and we’re pleased that our international travelers will now be able to experience Simplified Arrival’s more touchless process,” said Ken Buchanan, executive vice president of revenue management and customer experience for DFW Airport. “Collaboration with our partners at CBP has allowed DFW Airport customers to continuously benefit from innovative technology that elevates their experience and will be critically important as we look towards the future of travel.”
Eligible 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. At DFW, the Simplified Arrival process complements facial biometric boarding to further secure and enhance the customer experience.
Biometric facial comparison technology enhances CBP’s ability to facilitate lawful travel and secure the border and fulfills a longstanding congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens. To date, more than 53 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 300 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.