U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video
 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2004 > October
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 26, 2004


Visa Biometric Collection Program a Success

The Department of State is collecting digital index fingerscans from visa applicants at visa-adjudicating embassies and consulates worldwide, in compliance with Section 303 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.

Section 303 requires the Department of State , n ot later than October 26, 2004, to issue to international visitors “only machine-readable, tamper-resistant visas and other travel and entry documents that use biometric identifiers.” The collection of biometric data, two digital index fingerscans, from visa applicants allows screening through U.S. government biometric databases, which are conducted in addition the namechecks through the Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS) database. These fingerscans are also used to verify the visa holder's identity during port of entry processing through the Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT system.

The Department began its robust installation schedule of digital fingerscan equipment at U.S. visa-adjudicating posts on September 22, 2003, at the U.S. embassy in Brussels. Collection of digital fingerscans at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, the final post to receive installation, began on October 7, 2004.

In the process of screening international travel documents in the United States and abroad, biometrics are a useful adjunct to existing screening processes that identify individuals who might be terrorists, criminals, or other aliens who might represent a security risk.

Machine-readable, biometric visas facilitate rapid and precise identification and therefore enable more secure processing of travelers at ports of entry.

# # #

2004/ 1167


  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.