US to begin fingerprinting visitors at airports

Visitors from European nations traveling with visas or visa-free to the United States will soon have to give 10 digital fingerprints when entering the United States, a senior US Homeland Security official said Monday. Border checks could also soon include other biometric data, such as facial and eye retina scans, as the US upgrades security at its ports, airports and border crossings, said P.T. Wright, the operations director for the US Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT Program. All people from European nations and others participating in the US Visa-Waiver program would have to give additional prints, as would people traveling from nations where visas are needed, he said. Wright, who was in Brussels to explain the new system to EU officials, said a pilot project at 10 major US airports would be launched in late 2007, expanding the current program that calls for taking prints of two fingers and facial photographs of visitors to the United States.