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Biometric immigration procedures expanded in US

Sophisticated immigration identification measures under the US-VISIT program have been implemented at the fifty busiest land crossings into the U.S. ahead of schedule, the Department of Homeland Security announced January 3.

The Department says that the US-VISIT procedures, which involve collecting two index-finger scans and a digital photograph, have halved processing times at land borders to just 5 minutes per person on the Canadian and Mexican borders. This has been achieved because thanks to the new technology I-94 forms to enter the United States no longer have to be filled out by hand; instead, officials can draw up data on entrants when their documents are scanned.

US-VISIT has already been implemented at 115 airports and 15 seaports and will be expanded further in 2005. To date 16.9 million foreign visitors have been processed under US-VISIT, and 372 criminals or immigration violators have been arrested or denied entry.