DHS Proposes Rule to Expand Biometrics Collection

November 24, 2020 Sara Herbek

Key Points

  • DHS has proposed a rule to expand biometrics collection for non-U.S. citizen travelers
  • The proposed rule subjects more individuals to biometrics collection
  • Biometrics collection will expand to more seaports and airports
  • Photographs and facial recognition technology will be added to the biometrics system
  • A public comment period will remain open through December 21, 2020


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed a rule authorizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to expand biometrics collection for certain travelers entering or exiting the country.

What are the Changes?

The proposed rule further expands biometrics collections to non-U.S. citizens at all land, sea, and air borders. Currently, biometrics data collection is limited to 15 seaports and airports through pilot programs.

The proposed rule also expands the type of biometrics data that can be collected. The new rule will allow CBP to photograph all non-U.S. citizens who are arriving in the U.S. or departing the country. It also permits the use of facial recognition technology.

Who is Affected?

The proposed rule will affect all individuals previously subject to biometrics collection. Additionally, it requires biometrics data from more individuals, including certain groups that were previously exempt from biometrics collections. The proposed rule adds individuals age 14 or under and 79 or older and diplomatic visa holders to the list of people subject to biometrics collection. Both categories were previously exempt. The elimination of the age requirement follows a proposal by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in September 2020 to remove the age limits. 

What Should Employers and Applicants Know?

A public comment period on the proposed rule will remain open through December 21, 2020. Interested parties should submit comments electronically to DHS by December 21.

Looking Ahead

The rule will not take effect until the agency reviews all public comments and issues an implementation date.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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