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  4. Facial Biometrics Now Expediting the International Arrivals Process at Silicon Valley’s Airport

Facial Biometrics Now Expediting the International Arrivals Process at Silicon Valley’s Airport

Release Date
Mon, 08/06/2018

Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) Partners with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to Become the First West Coast Airport Committed to Using Facial Recognition Technology to Facilitate the Arrival and Departure of All International Travelers

San José, Calif. - Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today its partnership in using facial recognition technology to process arriving international travelers to secure and enhance the customer experience. SJC is the first West Coast airport to commit to processing all arriving and departing international travelers with facial biometrics, and began the enhanced entry process on June 25, 2018. SJC plans to implement biometrics for all departing travelers at seven gates in the fall 2018, as part of the biometric exit mandate.

“I thank Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and his team for choosing Mineta San José International as one of the first U.S. airports to integrate biometric technology into our U.S. Customs process,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “The use of biometrics technology will help cut down wait times and enhance the overall experience for our international travelers, especially as we continue to see unprecedented growth at SJC. Today’s announcement offers another great example that San José continues to leverage technology to better serve our community.”

SJC is one of a few early adopter airports to launch the use of facial recognition technology to expedite the entry inspection process of all arriving international passengers. The new, simplified arrival process enables increased security, faster throughput, and better efficiency.

“As one of the nation’s main regions of innovation, Silicon Valley is at the forefront of transforming the travel experience through biometrics,” said CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “CBP is excited to partner with SJC, which serves as another example of what we can achieve by advancing the entry/exit mandate through public-private collaboration, adding benefits for travelers and stakeholders across the air travel ecosystem.”

SJC has experienced a significant increase in the number of international passengers arriving to its International Arrivals facility, growing to 438,800 in 2017 from 199,900 international arrivals in 2015. Facial comparison technology is the ideal innovation to meet the challenges posed by increasing air travel to the U.S. and limited resources.

“After a smooth and effortless flight, the biometric entry allows our passengers the luxury of a hassle- free entry at SJC. By combining security with speed and ease of entry, the biometric entry is in line with ANA’s mission of having a foundation of security and reliability,” said Tomomichi Saito, ANA SJC/SFO Vice President & General Manager.

As part of its innovation efforts, CBP built a facial biometric matching service to support airport and airline stakeholder integration for biometric exit, entry, and other passenger services.  Facial comparison technology is used because it seamlessly integrates into the airport boarding process and is minimally disruptive to the flow of travel.

“The SJC community made the right choice to bring biometrics to Silicon Valley travelers, who are known to be early adopters of technology to enhance how they live, work, play, and travel,” said Director of Aviation John Aitken. “With biometric entry now in place, and biometric exit coming soon, our globe-traveling customers have more reasons to choose SJC for a faster, easier, and more secure and enjoyable passenger experience.”

CBP travel programs like Global Entry and Mobile Passport Control also have expedited international passenger arrival times at SJC. The International Arrivals facility includes an $8.2 million expansion and renovation, with an expanded bag claim area and enclosed greeter waiting area.

Additional details about CBP’s biometric entry/exit program are available at

Last Modified: Feb 03, 2021