Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

DHS Begins Collecting 10 Fingerprints at Boston Airport

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on January 22, 2008, that it has begun collecting additional fingerprints from international visitors arriving at Boston Logan International Airport (Logan). The change is part of the DHS’s upgrade from two- to 10-fingerprint collection.

For more than four years, U.S. Department of State (DOS) consular officers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have been collecting biometrics—digital fingerprints and a photograph—from all non-U.S. citizens between the ages of 14 and 79, with some exceptions, when they apply for visas or arrive at U.S. ports of entry.

The department’s US-VISIT program includes checks of a visitor’s fingerprints against DHS records of immigration violators and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records of criminals and known or suspected terrorists. The DHS said that collecting 10 fingerprints improves fingerprint matching accuracy and the agency’s ability to compare a visitor’s fingerprints against latent fingerprints collected by Department of Defense (DOD) and the FBI from “known and unknown” terrorists. Additionally, visitors’ fingerprints are checked against the FBI’s Criminal Master File.

On an average day at Logan, almost 2,000 international visitors complete US-VISIT biometric procedures. Visitors from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, and France comprise the largest numbers of international visitors arriving at Logan.

Washington Dulles International Airport began 10-fingerprint collection on November 29, 2007, and Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport began 10-fingerprint collection on January 6, 2008. Seven other ports of entry will soon begin collecting additional fingerprints: Chicago O’Hare International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport, Miami International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Orlando International Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The remaining air, sea, and land ports will transition to collecting 10 fingerprints by the end of 2008, the DHS said.

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About the Author

Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.