On April 22, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposed rule that would create a biometric exit procedure at all U.S. sea and air ports of departure. While most individuals that are not U.S. citizens are currently required to provide digital fingerprints and photographs to enter the U.S., the new US-VISIT Exit proposal would require these same people to also provide these digital data when leaving the U.S.
“The 9/11 Commission called for biometric entry and exit records, because biometrics confirm that travelers are who they say they are and the purpose of their travel is as they claim it to be,” said Michael Chertoff, Secretary, Homeland Security. “We’ve built an effective entry system, and combined with the proposed exit system, we’ll have made a quantum leap in America’s border security. Air and sea carriers would actively participate in the proposed exit system, and I look forward to an ongoing dialogue on solutions to meet this key 9/11 Commission recommendation.”
This proposed rule would require all commercial air carriers and cruise line owners/operators to collect and transmit biometric information from international travelers to DHS within 24 hours of those individuals leaving the U.S. This new procedure is scheduled to be implemented by January 2009.