SAN DIEGO, USA – US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in partnership with Princess Cruises, expanded the use of facial biometrics into the debarkation process at the Port of San Diego, becoming the latest seaport to modernize efforts to revolutionize cruise travel.
“As cruise travel resumes around our nation’s ports, it is increasingly important to implement this technology and safely restart cruising, a vital sector of the US travel economy,” said Jennifer De La O, CBP director of field operations in San Diego. “With the biometric facial comparison process, travellers have the benefit of secure, touchless and streamlined entry procedures into the United States while CBP protects the privacy of all travellers.”
When debarking the cruise vessel at a US seaport, passengers will pause for a photo that will be compared to the traveller’s existing passport or visa photo in secure DHS systems to biometrically verify his/her identity. Once verified, passengers are allowed to proceed through inspections and exit the terminal. This innovative entry process further secures and enhances the customer experience while protecting the privacy of all travellers. The improved arrival process using facial biometrics verifies the traveler’s identity within two seconds and is more than 98 percent accurate.
US travelers and select foreign nationals who are not required to provide biometrics and wish to opt out of the new biometric process can simply request a manual document check from a CBP officer consistent with existing requirements for admission into the United States.
To date, facial biometric comparison technology is available at 16 seaports across the United States and has been successfully used to process arriving passengers on cruise vessels in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Texas, California, Washington, Louisiana, Alabama, Puerto Rico, and Maryland.
Currently, more than 240 million travellers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land, and seaports of entry. As of November 2022, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent more than 1,600 impostors using genuine travel documents from illegally entering the United States at air and land Ports of Entry. More information on CBP’s use of biometric facial comparison technology to secure and streamline the arrival and departure process can be found here.
The San Diego Office of Field Operations covers ports of entry throughout Southern California, including San Ysidro, Tecate, Otay Mesa, Andrade, and Calexico.
CBP’s border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers and agriculture specialists from the Office of Field Operations. CBP screens international travelers and cargo and searches for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, invasive weeds and pests, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, US businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.