Why is CBP collecting biometrics?

Answer: In 2004, Congress required DHS to develop a biometric entry and exit system. In 2013, Congress transferred the entry/exit policy and operations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). As part of the border security mission, the agency is deploying new technologies to verify travelers’ identities – both when they arrive and when they leave the United States – by matching a traveler to the document they are presenting.

How does this work?
What authorities does CBP have to collect biometrics on U.S. citizens?
What are the legal authorities that allow CBP to collect biometrics on travelers exiting the U.S.?
Are there alternative procedures for those who do not wish to have a photo taken?
How does CBP secure traveler photos?
Has CBP reviewed the security of the biometric exit systems?
Does CBP retain traveler photos?
How is my privacy protected if I have my photograph taken?


Do airline partners use CBP authority to collect photos?

CBP partners do not collect photographs under CBP authorities. The air carriers, who work in partnership with CBP, are collecting images pursuant to their relationship with the travelers.  They may use the photographs consistent with that authority, choose to share those images with CBP for the purposes of efficiencies and the enhanced accuracy of traveler identity verification, which meet the statutory biometric exit mandate.

What requirements does CBP have of its partners who collect data?


How will CBP communicate future updates and changes related to biometrics and biometric exit?

Updates will be published prior to each future change for full transparency and in compliance with the Privacy Act and E-Government Acts. The website will be updated, as needed, with PIA’s published regulations.

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