US visitors to give ten fingerprints on arrivalTrial at major airports later this year

26 June 2007

Visitors from European nations travelling with visas or visa-free to the United States will soon have to give 10 digital fingerprints when entering the US, according to a senior Homeland Security official.

Border security checks could also soon include other biometric data like facial and eye retina scans.

The expanded security checks are part of upgrades at all US ports, airports and border crossings, said PT Wright, operations director for the US Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT Programme.

Pilot project

Wright, who was in Brussels to explain the new system to EU officials, said an initial pilot project at 10 major US airports would be launched in late 2007 to expand the number of prints taken from the current two index fingerprints from every non-US citizen coming into the United States.

Each visitor will also have his or her facial photograph taken. US travel security restrictions have caused increased opposition in EU nations amid demands from Brussels that Washington expand its visa-waiver programme to include all 27 EU nations.

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