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Practice Note
DHS To Begin Biometric Exit Pilot As Part of US-VISIT Program

Foreign visitors to the U.S. must be aware of the new exit procedure put into effect in many U.S. airports now.  As a part of the new border management system, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on August 3, 2004 that it will pilot and evaluate US-VISIT automated biometric exit procedures for foreign visitors.


The program will be expanded from its current locations - Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Miami's International Cruise Line Terminal - to Chicago O'Hare International Airport beginning in August 2004 and will be piloted at the following airports and seaports in September 2004:


Atlanta, Georgia (William B. Hartsfield International Airport)
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)
Denver, Colorado (Denver International Airport)
Detroit, Michigan (Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport)
Newark, New Jersey (Newark International Airport)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia International Airport)
Phoenix, Arizona (Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport)
San Francisco, California (San Francisco International Airport)
San Juan, Puerto Rico (Luis Mu隳z Marin International Airport)
Seattle, Washington (Seattle/Tacoma International Airport)
Los Angeles, California (San Pedro and Long Beach Seaports)


Any foreign visitor with a visa who leaves the United States through one of the pilot sites is required to comply. After September 30, 2004, visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program will be required to comply as well.


The piloted procedures require foreign visitors to check out at an automated exit station or with a US-VISIT exit attendant at the departure gate at the port. Foreign visitors will go though one of the following two processes, depending on location.

  • Under one alternative, visitors departing the United States will check out of the country at exit stations located within the airport or seaport terminal. As with the process the visitors encounter upon entry at airports or seaports, their travel documents are read, their two index fingers will be scanned at the exit station, their digital picture will be taken, and they will receive a printed receipt that verifies that they have checked out. An exit workstation attendant will be available to assist with visitors' check out. Visitors also may be required to present the receipt at their departure gate to confirm that they checked out at the exit station.
  • Another alternative under the pilot program is a biometric check-out process with a US-VISIT exit attendant at visitors' departure gates. To help the process run smoothly, foreign visitors will receive a printed card explaining the exit process from Customs and Border Protection when they arrive in the United States. Also, directional signs are strategically located throughout the airports and seaports.

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