US-VISIT tests exit technology

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"US-VISIT on track"

The exit portion of the newly-launched system for tracking foreign visitors to the United States is being tested in Baltimore and Miami.

Starting today, travelers at Baltimore Washington International Airport and selected Miami Seaport cruise line terminals will use automated kiosks when exiting the country. The kiosks are the first of several exit solutions for the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) system that will be tested throughout 2004, according to Bob Mocny, US-VISIT deputy director.

Travelers will be required to scan their visas and fingerprints to confirm their departure. This will let officials know if they have overstayed their visas.

Officials will evaluate the pilot tests before determining the proper exit technology. For example, the exit system ultimately may include handheld devices in place of or in addition to the kiosks, for example, Mocny said.

The first phase of the system was launched today at 115 airports and 14 seaports, collecting biometric data on foreign visitors entering the country. That biometric collection was first tested in November and December 2003 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

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