Brussels: The United States is beefing up security for foreign visitors who will have to give 10 digital fingerprints when they arrive, an official from the US Department for Homeland Security said.
Higher quality 10 fingerprint scanners will be evaluated during a pilot programme at 10 airports, including the John F Kennedy Airport in New York, Chicago’s O’Hare and Washington Dulles International, to replace the current system which requires two fingerprints and a photograph.
The new system is also being piloted in several US embassies abroad, including Brussels, said P T Wright, operations director for the US Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT Program.
The 10-fingerprint requirement will apply to travellers from those EU nations and other countries which enjoy the US visa waiver programme, as well as for visitors from others who need visas to visit the US.
The US-VISIT programme will provide the necessary technology and fingerprint analysis. The prints will be checked against US watch lists.
Border checks may soon be further upgraded to include other biometric data, such as facial and retina scans, said Wright.
US border controls have tightened considerably since the September 11, 2001 attacks, when terrorists hijacked and crashed four passenger airplanes, killing nearly 3,000 people.