U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today announced a proposal that will strengthen international air travel security by expanding existing advance data requirements for travelers on commercial flights to and from the United States. US CBP published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will require commercial air carriers to participate in the Document Validation (DocVal) Program. Under DocVal, the US CBP system automatically checks carrier-submitted passenger manifest data to ensure the data is accurate and the traveler’s document is valid for travel before responding directly to the carrier for boarding pass processing.
DocVal is currently in place on a voluntary basis and has provided the airline industry with additional efficiencies by validating traveler documents during the check-in process. Travelers providing complete and correct information are cleared in real time. The process occurs seamlessly behind the scenes. If the document information provided is invalid, DocVal will alert the carrier of the error so travel document issues can be corrected at the first possible point in the traveler’s journey.
It is also common for travelers to provide telephone and e-mail information to the government as part of an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) or passport application, and travelers also commonly provide telephone and e-mail information to their airline when they secure reservations. Airlines began providing telephone and e-mail information to CBP through the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) on a voluntary basis in December 2020, and there are now 80 airlines that participate in the program and over 200,000 travelers a day are participating. Since there has been strong support for this program by industry and the traveling public, who are most impacted by the requirements, CBP included regulatory supported requirements for airlines to transmit telephone and e-mail as part of this NPRM.
The announcement will allow CBP to meet our mission of protecting our borders more effectively. This proposal will allow CBP to identify threats earlier in the process, further inhibiting travelers with invalid documents from being issued a boarding pass. This will enhance security for the traveling public and streamline international travel.
Persons wishing to comment on the proposed rule may access the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov