To the great relief of Congress, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on May 7, 2007, that it intends to quickly implement its biometric-based exit system for verifying the identities of foreign travelers who are leaving the United States.

Over the past three years, the DHS US-VISIT program has been testing biometric exit technology at 14 airports. In addition, since 2005, the DHS has been working on creating plans that detail how a secure, biometrics-based exit strategy can be implemented.

The DHS had been testing the use of RFID technology for the program, but ended the tests earlier this month. The DHS then announced that it would implement 10-fingerprint scans as a means to verify the identities of foreigners who are leaving the United States via airports.

Over the next several months, the DHS will introduce new regulations that explain the working details of the biometric exit system. DHS spokeswoman Anna Hinken noted that travelers in airports typically have about two hours before leaving on their flights. "The visitors could just go up and check out whenever they wanted," Hinken said.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from Federal Computer Week (05/14/07); Chan, Wade-Hahn.