Inspection wait times for arriving international passengers are being reduced significantly at Southern California's Ontario International Airport (ONT) thanks to new technology that automates the process required for entry into the United States.
The Simplified Arrival process for international travel to the United States is operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks required for admission into the country. The technology provides travellers with a touchless process that further secures and streamlines international arrivals.
"Ontario International Airport is proud to partner with CBP in providing arriving international passengers a more convenient travel experience while also enhancing the safety and security of the inspection process," said Atif Elkadi, chief executive officer of the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA).
"As we expand our international travel options, Simplified Arrival will play a significant role in providing a more expedited and safe inspection process."
Simplified Arrival uses the biometric facial comparison process at a time and place where travellers are already required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document. When international travellers arrive at ONT, they will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point. CBP's biometric facial comparison process will compare the new photo of the traveller to a small gallery of high-quality images that the traveller has already provided to the government, such as passport and visa photos. This enhanced process using biometrics only takes a few seconds.
In addition, foreign travellers who have travelled to the U.S. previously will generally no longer need to provide fingerprints as their identity will be confirmed through the touchless facial comparison process. U.S. citizens and select foreign nationals who are not required to provide biometrics and who wish to opt out of the new biometric process may request a manual document check instead, simply by notifying a CBP officer as they approach the primary inspection point. These travellers 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 has a longstanding Congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens. While DHS completed biometric entry in 2004, CBP has been rolling out the Simplified Arrival process at international airports across the country to further secure and enhance entry into the United States with a technology upgrade.
"Simplified Arrival is a secure, efficient and intuitive process that delivers a seamless experience for travellers arriving into the United States," said Cheryl M. Davies, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.
"CBP is proud to partner with ONT in deploying an accurate, reliable technology to verify identity while protecting the privacy of all travellers."
ONT has been experiencing record passenger volumes on its direct international flights to Taiwan, Mexico and Central America. Through the first eight months of this year, the number of international passengers flying into or out of ONT more than doubled, to nearly 260,000.