U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB), along with Princess Cruises, are going high-tech in an effort to revolutionize cruise travel.
The CPB and Princess are introducing facial recognition software to be used in the Port of San Diego, the two entities announced on Friday.
“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 U.S. travel economy,” Jennifer De La O, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego, said in a statement. “With the biometric facial comparison process, travelers have the benefit of secure, touchless and streamlined entry procedures into the United States while CBP protects the privacy of all travelers.”
Here’s how it will work.
When debarking the cruise vessel at a U.S. seaport, passengers will pause for a photo that will be compared to the traveler’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.
The CPB says this innovative entry process further secures and enhances the customer experience while protecting the privacy of all travelers. The improved arrival process using facial biometrics verifies the traveler’s identity within two seconds and is more than 98 percent accurate.
U.S. 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 U.S.
To date, facial biometric comparison technology is available at 16 seaports across the country and has been successfully used to process arriving passengers on cruise vessels in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Texas, California, Washington, Louisiana, Alabama, Maryland and Puerto Rico.
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