US to begin fingerprinting travellers from 27 countries

28th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

28 September 2004 , WASHINGTON - People arriving in the United States from countries in the visa waiver programme will be fingerprinted and photographed beginning Thursday, the US Department of Homeland Security said. The change affects an estimated 13 million visitors who enter the US each year from 27 mostly European countries in the visa waiver programme. The change is an expansion of a programmed called US-Visit, which was launched 5 January for travellers from of countries not in the visa waiver progr

28 September 2004

WASHINGTON - People arriving in the United States from countries in the visa waiver programme will be fingerprinted and photographed beginning Thursday, the US Department of Homeland Security said.

The change affects an estimated 13 million visitors who enter the US each year from 27 mostly European countries in the visa waiver programme.

The change is an expansion of a programmed called US-Visit, which was launched 5 January for travellers from of countries not in the visa waiver programme.

US-Visit requires that visitors have their two index fingers scanned by an inkless digital fingerprint reader and have a digital photograph taken to verify their identity at the port of entry, the Department of Homeland Security said in a news release.

The data is entered into a computer and compared with databases of digital fingerprints and photographs of criminals and terrorists. The check is a follow up on biometric and biographic information collected from foreign visitors when they get their visa to ensure the person who applied for the visa is the person who enters the United States.

The United States has begun pilot programmes to check the data again when visitors leave the country.

Speaking at a briefing at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, US Under Secretary Asa Hutchinson said said US-Visit procedures are fast, easy and clean.

"One of our highest priorities at US-Visit is to make sure that the United States continues to be a welcoming nation and that travelers continue to come to the United States, whether for business, vacation or study," Hutchinson said.

Since deploying US-Visit at 115 airports and 14 seaports in January, more than 8.5 million foreign nationals have been processed without adversely impacting wait times, the department's news release said. The programme has helped intercept more than 280 people with prior or suspected criminal or immigration violations.

The countries in the visa waiver programme are Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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