US-VISIT deploys entry procedures to additional land border ports of entry with Canada

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2005 -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the scheduled expansion of the US-VISIT program's biometric entry procedures to three additional land border ports of entry (POE) in Alaska.

The ports in Alaska starting US-VISIT entry procedures today are:

-- Skagway POE, Klondike Highway (Skagway, Alaska)

-- Alcan POE, Alaska Highway (Alcan, Alaska)

-- Dalton's Cache POE, Haines Highway (Dalton's Cache, Alaska)

US-VISIT entry procedures have been operational in the secondary inspection areas of the 50 busiest land border ports of entry since December 29, 2004, and are also in place at 115 airports and 15 seaports.

"By moving ahead with the scheduled expansion of US-VISIT to these additional land border ports of entry, we are taking the next step toward achieving our long-term and comprehensive vision of 21st century immigration and border management system," said Jim Williams, director of the US-VISIT program at the Department of Homeland Security.

No changes will be made to the US-VISIT process or to the classifications of visitors subject to US-VISIT as the result of this expansion to added locations. US-VISIT applies to all visitors who apply for entry with a nonimmigrant visa, including those using a Border Crossing Card to travel beyond the border zone or for more than 30 days, or under the Visa Waiver program. As part of the process, Customs and Border Protection Officers collect digital, inkless finger scans and take a digital photo of the visitor.

To date, more than 39 million international visitors have been processed through US-VISIT at air, sea and land border ports, and more than 850 criminals or immigration violators have been denied admission to the United States with the help of US-VISIT procedures.

Experience has shown that the US-VISIT process is simple, fast, and clean for visitors. Indeed, at many land border ports of entry, the introduction of US-VISIT procedures has led to reduced processing times as DHS has automated processes where paper forms used to be used.

Since the program launched in 2004, US-VISIT has informed stakeholders across North America about what to expect when going through US-VISIT entry procedures at United States ports of entry by hosting public forums, media briefings, and advertising in border communities. US-VISIT will continue similar public education activities in the communities surrounding the remaining land border ports of entry slated to begin US-VISIT entry procedures.

DHS and US-VISIT are helping the United States demonstrate that it remains a welcoming nation -- keeping America's doors open and the nation secure. For more information on US-VISIT, or to learn more about entry procedures, please visit the US-VISIT Web site at .

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