Biometric Exit expected to process nearly all air passengers departing U.S. within four years

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects its Biometric Exit program to process 97 percent of airline passengers departing the country within four years.

The “Fiscal Year 2018 Entry/Exit Overstay Report” (PDF) estimates visa overstays, breaks them down according to different categories, as well as examining both air and land borders.

The program run by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has deployed facial biometric technology to 15 airports by the beginning of 2019. CBP estimates that more than 650,000 people overstayed their U.S. visas over the past year, making them eligible to be barred from the country for ten years. Of those, just under 570,000 were suspected to be in-country, and by March 1, more than a third of those overstaying visas that expired in 2018 had left the country, the agency estimates. The estimated in-country overstays dropped from nearly 629,000 in 2016 to just under 607,000 in 2017, according to last year’s report.

So far, 7,000 overstays have been biometrically confirmed by the system from passengers of 15,000 flights, with an average biometric match rate of 98 percent, according to the report. Six travelers were also found with biometric technology by CBP to be attempting to enter the country with travel documents which were altered or did not belong to them.

The Biometric Exit Mobile program was also launched to many U.S. land borders in 2018, with biometric exit records created for more than 23,000 travelers between December 2017 and November 2018. Legislation recently passed in Canada also allows that country to share biometric data of its citizens with the U.S. as of June, 2019.

As in many other countries, biometric systems deployments have continued at U.S. airports, with Vision-Box technology supporting biometric boarding for a number of international carriers in JFK’s Terminal One.

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