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Department of Homeland Security Begins US-VISIT Biometric Exit Pilot at Los Angeles' San Pedro and Long Beach Seaports

Department of Homeland Security Begins US-VISIT Biometric Exit Pilot at Los Angeles' San Pedro and Long Beach Seaports

WASHINGTON, April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that beginning today, foreign visitors departing from the San Pedro and Long Beach seaports in Los Angeles are required to follow checkout procedures before departing on their ship. Visitors are asked to provide their two index fingerscans and hold for a digital photo as part of a pilot program to test and evaluate an automated biometric exit process.

US-VISIT procedures apply to all visitors (with limited exemptions) entering the United States. Most visitors experience US-VISIT's biometric procedures -- a digital, inkless fingerscan and digital photograph-upon entry to the United States. Now, if they leave from an airport or seaport that has an exit capability like the Los Angeles seaports, they must also check out.

The exit procedure being piloted at San Pedro and Long Beach requires foreign visitors to go through the following process:

-- Visitors departing the United States will check out of the country at exit stations located within the seaport. Similar to the entry process at airports or seaports, their travel documents will be read, their two index fingers will be scanned at the exit station, their digital picture will be taken, and they will receive a printed receipt that verifies that they have checked out. A workstation attendant will be available to assist with checkout.

To help the process run smoothly, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers will provide foreign visitors with a card explaining the exit process when they arrive in the United States at one of the airports or seaports participating in the pilot.

The exit pilot program has been operating for a number of months at Baltimore/Washington International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and the Miami International Cruise Line Terminal.

Exit procedures became operational at Newark Liberty International Airport, Luis Munoz International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, San Francisco International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in January, and at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in March. An exit pilot will begin shortly at Philadelphia International Airport.

US-VISIT is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It enhances security for our citizens and visitors while facilitating legitimate travel and trade across our borders.

US-VISIT entry procedures are currently in place at 115 airports, 15 seaports and in the secondary inspection areas of the 50 busiest land ports of entry. By December 31, 2005, US-VISIT entry procedures will be implemented in the secondary inspection areas of all remaining land ports of entry.

To date, more than 23 million foreign visitors have been processed through US-VISIT without adversely impacting wait times, and more than 500 criminals or immigration violators have been denied admission to the United States because of US-VISIT.

US-VISIT is helping the United States demonstrate that it remains a welcoming nation -- that we can keep America's doors open and our nation secure. For more information on US-VISIT, or to learn more about exit procedures, please visit the US-VISIT Web site at http://www.dhs.gov/us-visit .

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

CONTACT: Kimberly Weissman, or Anna Hinken, both for U.S. Department of
Homeland Security, +1-202-298-5200

Web site: http://www.dhs.gov/us-visit

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