DHS issues biometrics RFI

The Homeland Security Department is seeking industry help to meet its long-standing requirement for a biometrics-based exit program for foreign visitors leaving the country by land.

The department has issued a request for information for its U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) Biometric Land Exit Solution.

Currently, visitors to the United States who are traveling on visas must provide fingerprints and a photograph when applying for their visas. Their fingerprints are verified when they enter the country.

But despite Congress' urging in recent years to implement a program to check fingerprints again when travelers leave the country, such biometric verifications are not performed.

US-VISIT program officials are seeking information to help implement a program to collect biographic and biometric information from travelers when they exit the country by land. The program must not cause undue inconvenience and delays at the borders, the RFI states. DHS has initiated separate rulemaking for air and sea departures.

Respondents are asked to identify potential technologies, devices and procedures that could provide a biometrically verified data collection system for any or all of the 167 land ports of entry. The goal is at least 97 percent accuracy.

Responses are due by July 16. US-VISIT officials plan to hold an industry briefing on June 30 to discuss the solicitation.

DHS might issue a request for proposals as early as January 2009 to acquire a solution, but there is no guarantee of a contract resulting from the RFI.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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