I just got this in my e-mail and i had to post it!
For your information, please find enclosed information relating to the US Visit Visa programme.
The new procedure entails taking the persons biometrics i.e. index finger of right and left hand, plus a digital photograph of the persons face. This process should not take any longer than 1.5 minutes, and will commence from 31 December 2003.
The goals of US-Visit are to:
Enhance the security of citizens and visitors to US
Expedite legitimate travel and trade
Ensure the integrity of the immigration system
Safeguard the personal privacy of the US visitors
This new procedure applies to any foreign National (over 14 or under 79) requiring a Visa to visit/work/study in the US. This new procedure does not apply to anyone travelling on the Visa Waiver Scheme, only the biometric passports which will be required from October 2004.
How the new procedure works:-
Many procedures in place today remain unchanged and familiar to International travellers.
ENTRY INTO US
US Customs and Border Protection Officers will review travel documents, i.e.Visa and Passport and ask questions relating to their stay in US. The new, inkless fingerprint scanner (currently placed in 115 US Airports and 15 Seaports) is easy to use. The visitor will be asked to put one and then the other index finger onto a glass plate that will electronically capture two fingerprints.
Visitors will also be asked to look into a camera and their picture will be taken. This can be done while fingerprinting is in process. The enhancements to the entry procedures add minimal time to the process, only seconds in most cases.
EXIT FROM US
The exit procedures at airports and seaports will be phased in, becoming operational in 2004. At the international departure area, visitors will see automated, self service kiosks where they will be asked to scan their travel documents and repeat the fingerprinting process on the inkless device. Attendants will be available to assist with the process.
Initially Exit procedures will be operational at as many as ten major airports and at one seaport. If you traveller is departing from one of the ten airports or seaport they must adhere to the new procedure.
Further information can be found at:http://usinfo.state.gov .