U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today the start of an innovative facial biometric pilot in select vehicle lanes at the Anzalduas International Bridge Port of Entry (POE), Texas for travelers arriving in the United States. This enhanced process for international travel, known as Simplified Arrival, uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States and provides travelers with a secure, touchless travel experience.
“CBP has successfully expanded Simplified Arrival to select airports, seaports, and pedestrian lanes at the U.S. land borders,” said Diane J. Sabatino, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of Field Operations, CBP. “The next step to transform travel at the land borders includes the addition of facial biometrics to further secure and enhance the vehicle entry process.”
The new technology will be deployed at two inbound vehicle lanes at the Anzalduas POE.
As travelers approach the vehicle lanes with the facial biometric system, the camera will attempt to take a photo of each occupant in the vehicle and match it to their corresponding traveler photos already in government holdings (images such as passport, visa, or prior encounters). Travelers who wish to opt out of the biometric testing can simply use the “opt out” lanes, which will be clearly marked for those who prefer to have the standard document check.
CBP has a Congressional mandate to biometrically record all foreign nationals who enter and exit the United States. The addition of facial biometrics to verify an individual’s identity and authenticate travel documents will strengthen security by providing CBP officers greater assurance to make an informed decision about a traveler’s admissibility.
CBP remains committed to protecting the privacy of all travelers. U.S. citizens who use the lanes with facial biometric technology will have their photo deleted within 12 hours of the entry inspection process. Consistent with regulatory requirements, photos of foreign nationals who are required to provide biometrics are securely transferred and stored in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT).
The pilot will run for 120 days, and then CBP will evaluate the system’s ability to capture a quality facial image for each occupant in the vehicle, as well as the accuracy of the biometric matching to inform future biometric enhancements for vehicle entry processing.