U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in partnership with the Commonwealth Ports Authority (CPA), has announced the implementation of the Simplified Arrival process at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport, and at the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport in partnership with the Guam International Airport Authority. Both airports are located in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Simplified Arrival is an enhanced international arrival process that uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States. This process provides travelers with a touchless process that further secures and streamlines international arrivals while fulfilling a longstanding congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.
CPA Executive Director Christopher S. Tenorio expressed his excitement over the Simplified Arrival program, stating “The Simplified Arrival program further secures and modernizes air travel at the Saipan International Airport. By streamlining the customer experience, the Saipan International Airport provides a warm welcome to our international tourists and travelers. CPA is deeply appreciative of its collaboration with CBP and looks forward to working with all airport partners to further enhance the CNMI’s travel recovery efforts.”
Simplified Arrival only uses the biometric facial comparison process at a time and place where travelers are already required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document. When travelers arrive at the airport on an international flight, they will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point. CBP’s biometric facial comparison process will compare the new photo of the traveler to a small gallery of high-quality images that the traveler has already provided to the government, such as passport and visa photos. In addition, foreign travelers who have traveled to the U.S. previously may no longer need to provide fingerprints as their identity will be confirmed through the touchless facial comparison process.
Simplified Arrival pairs one of the industry’s highest ranked facial comparison algorithms (as assessed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology) with trained CBP officers who are skilled at verifying the authenticity of travel documents. If a traveler cannot be matched to a photo on record using the Simplified Arrival process, the traveler will proceed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for entry into the United States.
U.S. citizens or those foreign travelers 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 travelers 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 United States.