CBP Proposes Changes To Arrival And Departure Record, ESTA Systems

Since 2004, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been working on improving the systems used to document the entries and exits of nonimmigrants...
United States Immigration
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Since 2004, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been working on improving the systems used to document the entries and exits of nonimmigrants to and from the United States. There is no comprehensive easy-to-use system in place to collect exit data, although there are ways to report departure that the CBP characterizes as burdensome, impractical, and inconvenient.

CBP is seeking public comment on a new program to make it easier for those subject to I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) requirements to document their exits and improve data collection by implementing a new capability within CBP One. Except for U.S. citizens, returning resident aliens, aliens with immigrant visas, and most Canadian citizens visiting or in transit, all visitors are subject to I-94 requirements. The 30-day comment period ends May 30, 2024. Follow the instructions in the Federal Register to submit comments.

With the new program, nonimmigrants departing the United States can voluntarily provide biographic data, facial images, and geolocation information to evidence departure. Nonimmigrants will be able to use the CBP One mobile application to provide biographic information from their passports and a live "selfie" photograph once they have departed the United States. CBP will use geolocation services to confirm that the individual is outside the United States. CBP will also compare the "live" photograph to images already retained by CBP to further confirm an individual's exit. While useful to CBP, this information also will be useful to the nonimmigrant if they need to convince CBP officers that they timely exited the United States – without overstaying.

CBP plans to also update the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) application website with "selfie" information to make sure the applicant is the rightful possessor of the travel document used for ESTA. ESTA is used by nonimmigrants seeking to enter the United States as visitors without a visa. It is used by foreign nationals from the 41 visa waiver countries. Since third parties may apply for ESTA on someone else's behalf, those third parties would still be able to provide this service but will have to provide the photograph for the applicant.

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