10/29/2020 02:00 PM

Oct. 29, 2020
Charles H. Pannunzio/LAWA
(424) 646-5260
Jaime Ruiz/CBP
From left, CBP Director of Field Operations, LAX Carlos C. Martel; LAWA Chief Executive Officer Justin Erbacci; CBP Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner Diane Sabatino, and CBP LAX Area Port Director LaFonda Sutton-Burke cut a ribbon during Thursday's introduction of Simplified Arrival.

Seamless process speeds arrival, supports travel recovery efforts


(Los Angeles, CA) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in partnership with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) announced today the implementation of "Simplified Arrival" at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).


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.


“Los Angeles World Airports is an innovation leader, deploying new technology to enhance safety, streamline the passenger experience and create an increasingly digital curb-to-gate journey,” said Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer, LAWA. “Our partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection has led to many passenger improvements, and the addition of Simplified Arrivals further solidifies LAX’s position as a premiere international port of entry.”


“Simplified Arrival is a secure, efficient and intuitive process that delivers a seamless experience for travelers arriving into the United States,” said Diane Sabatino, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, CBP. “CBP is using an accurate, reliable technology to verify identity while protecting the privacy of all travelers.”

LAWA Chief Executive Officer Justin Erbacci speaks during Thursday's news conference, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection unveiled Simplified Arrival technology at LAX.

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 LAX 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 will 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.


LAWA budgeted $1.9 million in capital funds to renovate the Federal Inspection Service area at Tom Bradley International Terminal for the new arrival process, which could save travelers as much as 45 minutes by reducing the need for them to line up multiple times.


Travelers 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.

An arriving international traveler speaks with a CBP officer who has taken his photo as part of the new Simplified Arrival process that CBP began using at LAX this week.

CBP is committed to its privacy obligations and has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travelers. CBP has employed strong technical security safeguards and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the facial biometric process. New photos of U.S. citizens will be deleted within 12 hours. Photos of most foreign nationals will be stored in a secure Department of Homeland Security system.


CBP and its air travel partners are expanding the use of facial biometrics through public-private partnerships to not only fulfill the Congressional security mandate, but also to further secure and enhance touchless travel wherever identity verification is required for international travel. At LAX, the Simplified Arrival process complements facial biometric boarding to further secure and enhance the customer experience.


To date, more than 53 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land and sea ports of entry. Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent nearly 300 imposters from illegally entering the United States by using genuine travel documents that were issued to other people.


“By using one of the best performing facial comparison algorithms available today, CBP is able to more efficiently identify and stop bad actors while streamlining travel for everyone else,” Sabatino said. “CBP’s facial comparison algorithm shows virtually no measurable differential performance in results based on demographic factors. We continue to partner with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to further enhance the Simplified Arrival process.”  


More information about CBP’s efforts to secure and streamline travel through facial biometrics can be found here.


A video of Thursday morning's news conference and demonstration can be seen here. B-roll of the new arrival process can be accessed here.


About Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA)
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is the City of Los Angeles department that owns and operates Los Angeles International (LAX) and Van Nuys (VNY) general aviation airports, as well as aviation-related property in Palmdale. Both play an integral role in helping to meet the Southern California regional demand for passenger, cargo and general aviation service. Both airports make a distinct contribution to the strength of the system as it provides a high level of safety, security and service for its customers, communities and stakeholders. More information can be found at flylax.com.

As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities. Alternative formats in large print, braille, audio, and other forms (if possible) will be provided upon request.


About U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

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