America is Testing Exit Controls at the Border

In most countries you go through immigration not just when you arrive, but when you leave too.

In the US there are no ‘exit controls.’ When you go to the airport you get off a connecting flight and right onto your international flight, no more security and no immigration. Domestic and international flights leave from the same terminal.

The US is a real exception this way. Canada and the UK are also exceptions.

At least, the US was an exception.

Customs and Border Patrol documents leaked by the ACLU detail plans for new exit controls for the US.

In the coming months, walking across a US border will entail exit controls involving a passport scan (including for US citizens).

Random non-citizens are getting biometric scans on departure in Atlanta.

There are other experiments as well, like facial recognition for arriving US citizens to compare scans to passport photos.

The goal is to bring exit controls and facial recognition on arrival to US airports by 2020.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

    I recently had the occasion to participate in the Dulles pilot, the technology is not quite ready for primetime, it takes several tries to lineup your face properly with the camera, even the attendant on hand to help was frustrated by the system.

  2. The U.K. has had sporadic checks at airports, usually just the other side of security, but I haven’t experienced any for a few years.

  3. The justification for this seems weak, at best, even by DHS standards.

    What benefit does it really bring US Citizens? What justification is there for the expense? Do we really care about having a record of when someone left the US?

    Color me unimpressed based on available information.

  4. Fortress-Prison America. So much for being born in the so-called “Land of the Free”. Our government wants to spy on (read: “monitor”) even the movements of free US citizens into, out of and within the US. You can bet that some of all of this tracking will be used for more than just controlling immigrants/visitors.

  5. In this day and age, I can think of many good public safety/immigration reasons to have some sort of exit controls. It does not bother me that the gov’t knows when I’m leaving the country. Honestly, they probably already know from the flight manifests.

  6. The US has been way behind on this. I see many foreigners get stopped at the aircraft door of their International departure by ICE agents and asked ridiculous questions. With a Kiosk section, that would be better. However, biometric scanning upon exiting is really Orwellian. Just sign a departure form, stamp it, and goodbye.

    Another pain in the behind was when CX had to do a fuel stop in ANC, everyone’s passports were checked in the holding area, but no one — and I mean no one — was going to the US.

    Anyway, the USA is a free country. Ayatollah Obama is trying to change all of this with his War on Flyers.

  7. Only worth it if the US starts recognizing the concept of being “international-in transit.”

  8. If it ain’t broke, why fix it America? I guess with a President in power who wants to control all our lives, and create red-tape and bureaucracy why don’t we create a whole new department, employ thousands of unhappy, non-caring, non-smiling workers who will be paid for by the taxpayer ( ie; not a red-cent of wealth created, just more damn spending by this government ) and then slug travellers on top.

    Bloody ridiculous!!

    Obama and your cohorts, get out of our lives. Stop worrying about the minutiae and focus on health, welfare, education, the elderly, the roads, the infrastructure and the debt. The debt mate.

  9. Can nobody see the value of this procedure? It gives a more accurate count of those who have entered the country and haven’t left it, meaning, those who are still here on expired visas, or those who have arrived, visaless, and remain in the country over- and -above the allowed time.

    This has nothing to do with Obama. On March 26, 2013, an article in Frontex is headlined “At the end of February, the European Commission put forward proposals to introduce a future vision for the European Union’s border checks….” AND “Following the announcements, some media reacted as if a revolution were taking place in EU border control, however technology, and in particular biometrics, have been playing an increasing role in European border management for some time already.”

    The EU is far ahead of the USA in this area, and it has nothing to do with Obama–he’s not that omnipotent, folks! Next thing you’ll be blaming him for the ‘chemtrails’ across the sky!

  10. Always hilarous to watch the Obama hating freaks chew their legs off in public. These morons live in a dementia called Faux News where our President is actually a foreign con man who’s at any moment embroiled in a dozen major scandals which only exist in their fevered imagination. Meanwhile in the real world we have another Democrat who brought us back from GOP ruin quite nicely.

  11. so now Obama created the dept of homeland security? You hatemongers never cease to fascinate me.

  12. Gotta agree w/Greg above.

    Sure hope you dumb Tea Heads are warming up your insults for the next dictatorial Dem. President, maybe Hillary. What kinds of schoolyard names you guys gonna call her?!

  13. :yawn:

    Nothing new here, folks. Departing international flights are already required to turn over comprehensive flight manifests to CBP 30 minutes prior to take off. Uncle Sam already knows your travels.

    The main differences I see are that instead of a bored, untrained ticket agent checking your passport, you have a real CBP agent checking. And we will spend an additional gazillion dollars to do this and hire a thousand additional CBP agents.

  14. Hopefully a global entry type line will be added but doubt it. Next will become an upsell to “Global Exit”. it will become Just another hour long line to stand in I assume.

  15. I think it is worthwhile for the U.S. to have exit control. After visiting 9 Asian countries in the last 2 months, every one stamped my passport in and out, and checked to see if I had overstayed my welcome. The EU’s Schengen Community does the same (I had some explaining to do exiting Frankfort, Germany by air after not getting an entry stamp in Livorno, Italy when entering from a cruise ship). It’s one way to try to find potential teenage jihadists planning a trip to Syria, or foreign students overstaying their visa.

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