The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has collaborated with the Commonwealth Ports Authority (CPA) to introduce the process of Simplified Arrival at the Francisco C Ada/Saipan International Airport (SIA) in the Northern Mariana Islands.

As an enhanced international arrival process, Simplified Arrival employs facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are needed for entering the US.

The process ensures a secure, touchless travel experience to passengers while fulfilling a Congressional mandate to record the entry and exit of non-US citizens into the country biometrically.

CPA executive director Christopher S Tenorio said: “The Simplified Arrival programme further secures and modernises air travel at Saipan International Airport. By streamlining the customer experience, Saipan International Airport provides a warm welcome to our international tourists and travellers.”

Simplified Arrival uses a combination of facial comparison algorithms and trained CBP for authenticating the legitimacy of travel credentials.

It makes use of the biometric facial comparison process at a time and place when travellers are legally required to verify their identity with the presentation of a travel document.

Upon arrival at SIA, the passenger will have to pause at the primary inspection point for a photo.

As part of the process, the CBP officer will check the travel document that will retrieve the traveller’s passport or visa photo from government holdings and compare it with the new photo captured at the primary inspection point.

The identity of non-US citizens who travelled to the country earlier may no longer need to provide fingerprints as the touchless facial biometric procedure will confirm their identity.

In case of any discrepancy, the traveller will be required to proceed through the traditional inspection process in line with the current requirements for entering the country.

In a statement, CBP said: “US citizens or those foreign travellers who are not required to provide biometrics who wish to opt out of the new biometric process may notify a CBP officer as they approach the primary inspection point.

“These travellers will be required to present a valid travel document for inspection by a CBP officer and they will be processed consistent with existing requirements for admission into the US.”

Furthermore, CBP has not only introduced technical security measures but also restricted the amount of personally identifiable data used in the process of facial biometric.

Last month, CBP launched the Simplified Arrival biometric facial comparison technology at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to streamline global travel.

At present, CBP has deployed biometric facial comparison technology partially or fully at entry into 172 US airports and at 32 airports in the event of leaving the country.