Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 03102942 (posted Oct. 29, 2003)"
Department of Homeland Security Unveils US-VISIT Program
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 28, 2003
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today unveiled the capability it
will have in place at airports and seaports on December 31, 2003, to process
visitors holding visas as they enter the United States.
The US-VISIT program -- United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator
Technology -- is a cornerstone of the Department's goals to improve border
management at our ports of entry. By capturing more complete arrival and
departure data for those who require a visa to enter the United States, the
US-VISIT program will enhance the security of our citizens and visitors while
expediting legitimate travel and trade.
"We are moving rapidly to complete development and deploy the US-VISIT
capability to meet the congressionally mandated deadline of December 31, 2003,"
said Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary of Border & Transportation Security of
the Department of Homeland Security. "We are on target to achieve this
first increment of US-VISIT," he said.
US-VISIT uses scanning equipment to collect "biometric identifiers," such as
fingerprints, in an inkless process, along with a digital photograph of the
visitor. Together with the standard information gathered from a visitor about
their identity and travel, the new program will verify the visitor's identity
and compliance with visa and immigration policies. The new procedures are
expected to add just seconds to the entry and exit process.
All data obtained from the visitor is securely stored as part of the
visitor's travel record. This information is made available only to authorized
officials and selected law enforcement agencies responsible for ensuring the
safety and security of U.S. citizens and foreign visitors.
At exit points, visitors will check out at kiosks by scanning their
visa or passport and repeating the simple inkless fingerprinting process. The
exit confirmation will be added to the visitor's travel records to demonstrate
compliance. Land border processing will be introduced in phases in 2005 and
"All of these entry and exit procedures address our critical need for tighter
security and our commitment to expedite travel for the millions of legitimate
visitors we welcome each year to conduct business, learn, see family or tour the
country," said Under Secretary Hutchinson.
"The new program is designed to enhance the security of U.S. citizens and
visitors, expedite legitimate travel and trade, ensure the integrity of the
immigration system, and safeguard visitors' personal privacy," Hutchinson
The law requires that an automated entry/exit system be implemented at air
and seaports by December 31, 2003; the 50 most highly trafficked land ports of
entry by December 31, 2004; and all ports of entry by December 31, 2005.
DHS is working closely with the air and sea industry to explain the
requirements of the US-VISIT program. In addition, the US-VISIT Project Team
will partner with industry to ensure the latest technologies available will be
incorporated into US-VISIT. The request for proposal will be issued in November
The US-VISIT program received $380 million for fiscal year 2003 and was
appropriated $330 million for fiscal year 2004.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov/us-visit.