Protecting privacy is our priority


At CBP, we are relentless in our mission to safeguard our borders and the privacy of our citizens. Hosted within a secure cloud-based environment, facial comparison software does not store biographic data for any travelers. CBP retains U.S. citizen photos for no more than 12 hours after identity verification, and only for continuity of operations purposes. CBP enrolls in-scope non-U.S. citizen travelers in the DHS Biometric Identity Management System (IDENT) as a biometric confirmation of arrival.

Our traveler identity verification process is not a surveillance program. In fact, far from it. Our process is out in the open, with cameras and signage on display where all passengers and travelers can see them and stay informed about the process and technology. Because our process is unchanged – and has been for decades – passengers have come to expect they will have their identification verified when they travel. CBP only compares a traveler’s identity against the passport or visa photo they submit. Surveillance programs, on the other hand, involve cameras that are hidden and out of sight, capturing video of people when they are in public spaces and completely unaware or informed.

Our policies on privacy are completely transparent; and we adhere to all legal privacy rules, regulations as well as the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) which prohibits CBP from conducting or sponsoring an information collection or requiring a person to respond to this information unless a current, valid OMB control number and an expiration date are displayed. The OMB control number for CBP’s collection is 1651-0138.

CBP also offers a choice: travelers who may not want to have their photo taken may always request that CBP verify their identity directly.

In the end, CBP hopes that travelers will choose to enjoy the many benefits of Biometric Facial Comparison-including the time it saves and how easy and smooth it makes the travel experience.