TSA clarifies fingerprinting requirements

Published 10 June 2009

TSA makes clear that only non-U.S. citizens will have to give fingerprints upon leaving the United States — and for now, only for a pilot project at Atlanta and Detroit airports

We wrote last week about the plan by TSA to begin and collect fingerprints from non-Americans leaving the United States through the Detroit and Atlanta airports. This is a pilot which aims to examine the feasibility of eventually collecting fingerprints from all non-Americans leaving the United States after a visit here.
TSA received many inquiries about the plan, and it has posted these clarifications on its Web site:

TSA is collecting fingerprints — but only at Atlanta checkpoints from non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. TSA’s sister component, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is conducting the same tests in Detroit.

This is all part of DHS’s US VISIT pilot program. Fingerprints (biometrics) are already collected from incoming non-U.S. citizens applying for visas and also at ports of entry and are used to stop criminals and immigration violators. Exit prints will help identify when non-U.S. citizens exit the country, how long they’ve been here, or if somebody has stayed in the states illegally.

TSA is assisting with this pilot program and fingerprints about 800 passengers at ATL daily.

The US VISIT pilot program will end in July. DHS plans on launching the new exit procedures within the next year.