Baja California

CBP will now use facial biometric matching at San Ysidro and Otay border crossings

They reported that this simplified arrival process seeks to further secure and expedite entry into the United States

Photo by: Cortesía Luis Dominguez

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Friday notified the use of facial biometric matching for pedestrians crossing through the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry in San Diego.

"As part of our ongoing innovation efforts at the land border, CBP is developing a range of enhanced processes and services for travelers that are not only efficient and contactless, but provide an additional layer of security and protect the privacy of all travelers," said Diane J. Sabatino, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner for Field Operations at CBP.

When will you have to go through this process? As explained during their arrival, the biometric facial comparison process will only be done at a time and place where travelers are already required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document.

How will it be done? When a traveler arrives at the pedestrian lanes or undergoes I-94 processing in San Ysidro or Otay Mesa, they will stop for a photo at the main inspection point. A CBP officer will review and consult the travel document and retrieve the traveler's passport or visa photo from government stocks. The traveler's new photo will be compared with the previously collected photo.

The facial comparison process only takes a few seconds and is over 97 percent accurate. In addition, foreign travelers who have traveled to the U.S. before will no longer need to provide fingerprints, as their identity will be confirmed through the contactless facial comparison process.

What happens if a traveler does not provide a match? If a traveler cannot match a photo registered through the simplified arrival process, the traveler will go through the traditional screening process according to existing requirements for entry into the United States.

What to do if you do not want to go through this facial biometric comparison? U.S. travelers and foreign nationals who are not required to provide biometric data and wish to opt out of the new biometric process can notify a CBP officer when they approach the main screening point. These travelers will be required to present a valid travel document for inspection by a CBP officer and will be processed according to existing requirements for admission to the United States.

It should be noted that new photos of U.S. citizens will be removed within 12 hours, while those of most foreign citizens will be stored in a secure Department of Homeland Security system.

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