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US VISIT Program

What is the US-VISIT program?
US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) is a new program created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect, maintain and share information, including biometric identifiers of foreign nationals who enter the United States. This information will be stored in a database and maintained by DHS and the Department of State as part of an individual's travel record.

When and where it is starting?
The US-VISIT program will be implemented in phases at selected ports of entry by early 2004. Some of you who will be traveling back to the U.S. at selected ports of entry will encounter this new system upon your entry to the United States. The program is expected to be fully implemented by 2005.

How does the US-VISIT program work?

ENTERING THE UNITED STATES

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers will review travel documents, such as a visa and passport, and ask questions about the visitor's stay in the U.S.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers will use an inkless fingerprint scanner upon a visitor's entry. The visitor will be asked to put one and then the other index finger on a glass plate that will electronically capture two fingerprints.
  • Visitors also will be asked to look into a camera and their picture will be taken. This can be done while fingerprinting is in process.

It is expected that this will add minimal time to the entry process - only seconds in most cases. The biographic and fingerprint data will be used to verify the identity of the visitor and compared against watch lists. At that point, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer will either admit the visitor or conduct additional inquiries based on the verification results.

EXITING THE UNITED STATES
When leaving the country, visitors will 'check out' at a departure kiosk located within the secure area of major international airports or seaports. Implementation of the biometric exit portion of US-VISIT at airports and seaports will begin in 2004. This will be expanded to land ports in the future. Specific details about the procedures are expected soon.

US-VISIT AND SPECIAL REGISTRATION
On December 2, 2003, the Department of Homeland Security announced the suspension of some aspects Special Registration program. Individuals who have been registered via call in at Detroit immigration office or at ports of entry will no longer have 30 day or one year re-interview requirements; exit procedures will continue so be sure to exit properly.


More information about the US-VISIT program is available at : http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?theme=91