US Government to Implement Facial Recognition When Exiting the US US Government to Implement Facial Recognition When Exiting the US

US Government to Implement Facial Recognition When Exiting the US

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Airports are taking giant leaps and bounds when it comes to border controls; only recently Australia announced a Biometric trial and in Amsterdam, they're testing facial recognition for boarding. Now the US government is developing a facial recognition system to implement exit controls from the US. Currently, the US does not impose immigration controls when you are exiting the country; which is an anomaly since most countries in the world have both entry and exit immigration controls.


Since most US international airports were designed with this system in mind, it would take some extensive renovations to implement a traditional style immigration control system. One workaround that the Department of Homeland Security is going to implement is via facial recognition software. Per the Verge website, the new system is “called Biometric Exit; the project would use facial matching systems to identify every visa holder as they leave the country. Passengers would have their photos taken immediately before boarding, to be matched with the passport-style photos provided with the visa application. If there’s no match in the system, it could be evidence that the visitor entered the country illegally.”

The system should be relatively simple to implement, according to Larry Panetta of the US Customs and Border Protection agency, who oversees the airport section of the project. “We currently have everyone’s photo, so we don’t need to do any sort of enrollment. We have access to the Department of State records, so we have photos of US Citizens, we have visa photos, we have photos of people when they cross into the US, and their biometrics are captured into [DHS biometric database] IDENT.”

Once the database and system is up and running, the plan is to use the data in a much wider scope than just immigration controls, as the agency wants to involve more stakeholders in the project, Mr. Panetta added: “So once we completely build our exit infrastructure, we could potentially offer it to TSA if they want to use our facial matching or security screening test — or maybe if an airline wanted to use facial matching for access to their lounge. So we’re trying to be collaborative with our various stakeholders and our sister agencies such as TSA, and we’ll make that available to them when we have it.”

This means that in the future many procedures that you have to go through at an airport could be speeded up. You could use facial recognition to enter lounges, boarding and any other point requiring you to show ID and a boarding pass.


Any move that enhances airport security is to be commended, but sadly often new procedures involve more delays which passengers find annoying. With more and more people flying and governments and airlines investing in new technology like facial recognition and biometrics, hopefully, security can be improved while being sped up at the same time.

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  • It’s amazing the amount of freedom and privacy we have to sacrifice to keep out illegal aliens, criminals, and terrorists.

  • Up next: dna specimen collection.

  • atul garg says:

    Hopefully, It works fast & smooth to insure better travel

  • Rob Arias says:

    Ugh this is so creepy but hopefully it’ll make traveling easier.

  • there is so much fraud and easy to get fake IDs and Passports, its a good thing to make better security for all of us!

  • I don’t know what the value of this is.
    Aside from creating jobs/work for some company who creates/installs/runs these things. Then I’m curious who ends up paying for them… air travelers or tax payers? or both?

  • Air Flyer says:

    Interesting move.

  • Todd Phoenix says:

    Somebody help me out – I don’t get it. We have people in the country illegally (no visa, overstayed visa, etc.) and we keep saying we want them gone.

    Now the idea is that when they’re finally on their way home (at their own cost!), we arrest them, put them in jail, and pay tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to house, feed, supervise, and perhaps finally deport them.

    We pay tons of money to achieve the same result we could get for free. And this is supposed to make us safer?

  • Can’t imagine how this leads to less privacy for American citizens in the future (sarcasm).

  • Biometrics is a useful security measure in some applications – especially when used as a two-factor authorization for one’s own benefit. Used as an identification, despite the (somewhat justified) feeling by some of an overreach, is likely coming sooner than later.

  • “Any move that enhances airport security is to be commended”

    It’s most theater at this point, but maybe.

  • Not a bad idea. True they already have my info…all my info :o! If it helps makes things faster and safer I’m for it. But we’ll see how it all goes down. Thanks for the heads up! When do you think it would come out? any info on that?

  • Well, the technology is always helping.
    The problem is making good use of it.
    It’s not true your exits are not tracked. I come with my Esta and my exits are regularly tracked.

  • We Are Not To Gattaca Just Yet…

  • Unfortunately the signs of the time. More and more “Big Brother” to be safer.

  • big brother watching over us

  • Adam Parsons says:

    Better leave extra time at the airport now, this is bound to cause delays and confusion with lots of passengers.

  • Not sure how I feel about this.

  • Let’s hope this doesn’t cause any unnecessary headaches for the majority of passengers upon exiting.

  • Binita Patel says:

    Hope this can help make security more effective for everyone!

  • Prashant Gangwal says:

    Interesting concept – proof will be in timing and implementation!

  • Interesting move, just hope the costs do not get blown out of proportion.

  • Tech comp have had in the works for years $$$. Nothing to do with cheeto-face DT. Dual US/EU passports holder. EU also experimenting. Not convinced It is great idea. I have nothing to hide & would applaude if this keeps us safer

  • Glad this may be coming. Hopefully it won’t add to the security line and waste more time.

  • About time. Although if its harder to get out, maybe more people will end up staying longer.

  • Is this system implemented in Ottawa ON, as in the capital of Canada, or in one of the handful of places called Ottawa in the USA?

  • says:

    Any thought on if this will speed up (or slow down) the travel process through busy airports??

  • Another layer of security, I guess it cannot hurt. I wonder how many people try to leave the USA illegally?

  • Really? I don’t see the point of this. Maybe make sure that people are taking valid passports with them like they do now so they can come back in but other than that seems like a waste of money

  • Hope they get the exit process efficient. As it is now if you’re connecting in the US upon entry it takes sometimes 3 hours to go through the controls. I would hate to add another hour on exiting.

  • Super skeptical about it, not to mention the cost of it. Another gimmick!

    • Agreed, sounds gimmicky. Additionally, would this tech have prevented any successful terror plot, ever in the US, so far? Methinks not.

  • Jacqueline parsons says:

    It’s a sign of the times unfortunately. Expect more and more security measures to be introduced at airports in the future.

  • hehehe, now the question becomes: where does the money come from?

  • This is definitely an interesting concept.

  • I can’t help but think our tickets will have another facility tax levied once this technology gets going.

    • I would say you are right on that one. Nothing comes without a cost and I’m sure it will be passed on to those who are flying.

  • The increased security will be great and if it actually makes things faster , that would be excellent. Undoubtedly, this will not be the case at first.

    I hadn’t really previously considered the fact that the US doesn’t track people when they leave the country. We certainly enjoy many freedoms that can unfortunately be exploited.


    Safety for all: americans and legal tourists. Tecnology in our service.

  • the more security we have, the better we will be.

  • See I don’t see it as being about airport security.. immigration control yes, and fair enough too.

  • Loving Donald Trump right now! Suprisingly, the US has a massive problem… With Visa Swappers