DHS, United States Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology

Securing U. S. air, land, and sea borders is a difficult task. The U.S. has thousands of miles of land that borders Canada and Mexico and even more miles of shoreline. It has more than 300 land, air, and sea Ports of Entry (POE). Each year, there are more than 500 million visitors entering the U.S., through these POEs. This volume of entries is projected to rise steadily, intensifying the need to improve the U.S. Government’s ability to manage its borders.

In response to this need, DHS initiated the United States Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT). The goals of US-VISIT are to facilitate travel, secure our nation, and combat terrorism. The objectives to meeting these goals are to improve the processes, policies, and systems used to collect information on foreign nationals who apply for visas at embassies or consulate overseas, as well as those who may attempt to enter the country at established POEs. Furthermore, US- VISIT will help manage request for benefits such as change of status or adjustment of status, or departure from the U.S.

U. S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency of DHS, relied on B&A to develop and deliver increments of US-VISIT clients. A synopsis of these increments follows:

During Increments 1 and 2, B&A helped deliver the initial operating capability of using biometrics for identity verification and to check foreign nationals against watch lists at POEs. B&A helped to develop and deploy the initial operating capability to air, sea, and the 50 highest-volume land POEs, by December 31, 2004. The US-Visit client helped to process travelers for entry into the United States by employing an integrated solution that captures biometrics at POEs.

In 2009, the US-VISIT program provides visa-issuing posts and ports of entry with the biometric technology that enables the U.S. government to establish and verify travelers’ identity when they visit the U.S. In many cases, this process begins overseas at U.S. visa issuing posts where travelers’ biometrics-digital fingerprints and a photograph—are collected and checked against various watch lists. When travelers arrive in the U.S., immigration officials collect the same biometrics to verify that the persons at the U.S. port are the same as the persons who were issued the visas abroad.