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KCI adds facial biometric 'Simplified Arrival' for international arrivals

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Posted at 10:09 AM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 11:09:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency announced this month that they are implementing a new facial biometric process to check the documents of international travelers at the Kansas City International Airport.

The process is called "Simplified Arrival," and it uses facial biometrics to automatically compare travel document pictures instead of the CBP agent manually checking the documents, according to a CBP news release.

Travelers arriving from international flights will stop to take a photo at the CBP inspection point, and Simplified Arrival compares the photo of the traveler to passport and visa photos they provide. Because of this new process, foreign nationals may not need to provide fingerprints to confirm their identity at CBP checkpoints.

If the photo can't be used to verify the traveler, then they will be checked through the traditional inspection process.

"CBP is excited to partner with the Kansas City Aviation Department to expand the use of facial biometrics for international arrivals at KCI," LaFonda Sutton-Burke, director of Field Operations at the Chicago Field Office, said in the release. "This enhanced process is secure, touchless and supports the travel recovery efforts, while protecting the privacy of travelers."

CBP said it will protect the privacy of travelers by limiting the amount of personally identifiable information used by Simplified Arrival, deleting new photos of U.S. citizens within 12 hours and storing photos of most foreign nationals in a secure Department of Homeland Security system.

"(CBP's) technology continues to make arrival in Kansas City as fast and easy as possible, while giving travelers options," Pat Klein, Kansas City director of aviation, said in the release. "Simplified Arrival is quick and touchless with the CBP officer doing the work, and Mobile Passport Control still exists for travelers who wish to be more hands on."

Travelers can opt out of the Simplified Arrival process by telling a CBP officer when at the primary inspection point.

The release said that 86 million travelers have used the Simplified Arrival process at points of entry throughout the country. CBP has prevented nearly 850 imposters from illegally entering the county by using other individual's documents through these facial biometrics.