New methods for electronically collecting and transmitting biometric data are being tested by the US Homeland Security Department (HSD) on non-citizens leaving US airports.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport are testing the technology, under the US visitor and immigrant status indicator technology (US-VISIT) programme.

Transportation security officers have started collecting the biometric data of Atlanta passengers at agency checkpoints while customs and border protection officers gather the data at boarding gates in Detroit Airport, according to

The biometric programme is expected to last about 35 days in each airport.

On the back of this pilot programme, HSD will develop standard procedures for the implementation of biometric systems across the country’s airports to expedite legitimate travel and security.

A fingerprint-based entry programme for non US-citizens was implemented in 2004 but previous attempts to begin biometric testing have been unsuccessful because of the potential cost to the airline industry.