Visa Waiver Program – Biometrics

Discussion among authorities regarding the use of the biometrics system to screen passengers under the Visa Waiver Program continues so to improve and enhance the security and safety of travelers who wish to enter the USA.

What is Biometrics and Its Applications?

Biometrics is the measurement, analysis, and recording of human characteristics and their unique features. This technology has many uses in several different kinds of applications, mainly for identification and admission control. At present, biometrics are present in phones for easier unlocking using just the fingerprint. Also, many companies are utilizing similar technologies, such as facial or iris recognition.

Having this technology available makes a lot of daily activities much more simplistic and less time-consuming. It could also increase the security of processes such as banking because it eliminates flaws that most likely would bring about unfavorable effects. The additional protection could even reduce fraud.

Biometrics for ESTA Holders

Currently, visitors who are traveling to the USA with a valid Visa ESTA use biometrics as a means of identification, but for those traveling with ESTA, as part of the Visa Waiver Program, do not. Talks of extending its use on travelers with ESTA has been going for many years.

Because of the several attacks that have happened over recent years, there is a need to up the security even for those citizens that are from visa-exempt countries. There is an unfortunate possibility that terrorists are citizens of countries that are a part of the Visa Waiver Program, which means one cannot just assume that all passengers with ESTA are safe and trustworthy. Another reason why those with ESTA have to undergo biometric screening is that many of these visitors stay longer than the agreed limit of 90 days, and so implementing the biometrics system allows for easier tracking of these people.

Importance of Additional Security Measures

Although the process of applying for an ESTA already has a high level of security, performing the biometric screening provides additional information which could give a more comprehensive review of the person across all law enforcement databases around the world. Since the Visa Waiver Program is exceptionally successful in the USA, it is crucial to keep it efficient and secure to ward off people who want to see it end.

The rules and regulations for obtaining an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program frequently change, so you should always keep yourself informed and up-to-date.