U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced the introduction of Simplified Arrival at the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau, Bahamas, and at the L.F. Wade International Airport in Bermuda.
Simplified Arrival is an enhanced international arrival process that uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States. This process provides travelers with a touchless experience that further secures and streamlines international arrivals while fulfilling a longstanding Congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.
“Given today’s health concerns, biometric facial comparison technology can play a key role in helping the travel industry address COVID-19 health and safety risks by implementing seamless processes,” said Clint Lamm, Director of Field Operations, CBP Preclearance.
Simplified Arrival only uses the biometric facial comparison process 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 Simplified Arrival airports on an international flight, they will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point.
CBP’s biometric facial comparison process 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 algorithms (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 proceed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for entry into the United States.
U.S. travelers and those foreign nationals who are not required to provide biometrics 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.
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years’ experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC’s Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane’s, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.