Las Vegas, Nevada - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently introduced Simplified Arrival at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
Simplified Arrival is an enhanced international arrival process that uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States. This process provides travelers with a touchless experience that further secures and streamlines international arrivals while fulfilling a longstanding Congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.
“Over the years, we have aligned our vision to successfully deploy critical resources and technological innovations with the shared goal of enhancing the traveler experience, while still maintaining the highest levels of national security,” said Carlos C. Martel, Director of Field Operations, Los Angeles.
Simplified Arrival only uses the biometric facial comparison process at a time and place where travelers are already required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document. When travelers arrive at LAS on an international flight, they will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point.
“McCarran looks forward to more international travelers returning to Las Vegas and when they do, Simplified Arrival will help ensure a seamless experience,” said Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County Director of Aviation. “As a destination known for world-class experiences, we are proud to coordinate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the implementation of this modernized process that will provide a more efficient welcome for those traveling here from around the world.”
CBP’s biometric facial comparison process will compare the new photo of the traveler to a small gallery of high-quality images that the traveler has already provided to the government, such as passport and visa photos. In addition, foreign travelers who have traveled to the U.S. previously will no longer need to provide fingerprints, as their identity will be confirmed through the touchless facial comparison process.
“With the help and assistance of McCarran International Airport, CBP implemented facial biometric boarding to all international outbound gates ,and Simplified Arrival is fully operational now to provide travelers the same secure, touchless experience at entry process, said Warren Eales, Port Director Las Vegas. “The upgraded system has taken most of the administrative work away from the officers, allowing them to provide each traveler with a more personal experience.”
Simplified Arrival pairs one of the industry’s highest ranked facial comparison algorithms (as assessed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology) with trained CBP officers who are skilled at verifying the authenticity of travel documents. If a traveler cannot be matched to a photo on record using the Simplified Arrival process, the traveler will proceed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for entry into the United States.
U.S. citizens and select foreign nationals who are not required to provide biometrics may opt out of the new biometric process simply by notifying a CBP officer as they approach the primary inspection point. These travelers will be required to present a valid travel document for inspection by a CBP officer and they will be processed consistent with existing requirements for admission into the United States.
CBP is committed to its privacy obligations and has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travelers. CBP has employed strong technical security safeguards and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the facial biometric process. New photos of U.S. citizens will be deleted within 12 hours. Photos of most foreign nationals will be stored in a secure Department of Homeland Security system.
CBP and its air travel partners are expanding the use of facial biometrics through public-private partnerships to not only fulfill the Congressional security mandate, but also to further secure and enhance touchless travel wherever identity verification is required for international travel. At LAS, the Simplified Arrival process complements facial biometric boarding to further secure and enhance the customer experience.
To date, more than 56 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land and sea ports of entry. Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent over 300 imposters from illegally entering the United States by using genuine travel documents that were issued to other people.