With the land borders into the United States from Canada reopening on November 8, many Canadians are concerned about the wait time to process travellers. A U.S. Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) program called Simplified Arrival Process helps people coming into the United States cross the border from Canada quicker and more securely. The expedited arrival process first went into effect in U.S. borders in 2018, and the latest land port to implement Simplified Arrival Process is in Sweetgrass, Montana, and opened last week in time for the November 8, 2021 reopening of U.S. - Canada land borders. According to Great Falls Port Director Mark Hanson,
"Simplified Arrival is an enhanced international arrival process that uses biometric facial comparison to streamline and enhance the document inspection process that is already required by law when entering the U.S.”
What Is Simplified Arrival Process?
Simplified Arrival Process is a secure, expedited arrival process that automates the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States. Key features of the process are:
- Touchless process to take the photograph of anyone entering or exiting the United State
- Biometrically records the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens
- Compare the new photo of the traveller to images that the traveller has already provided to the government, such as passport and visa photos
- 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 (DHS) system
Travellers who want to opt-out of the biometric process can notify a CBP officer as they approach the primary inspection point. Travellers who choose to opt out will be required to present valid travel documents for inspection by a CBP officer.
Evelyn Ackah, Founder and Managing Lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law, said:
Businesses and travellers welcome change that makes travel safer, faster and more efficient. I recently travelled to the U.S. for the 1st time since March 20, and am glad to see the Simplified Arrival Process expanding to benefit all travellers who need to crossborders for work, family, school or holidays.
CBP continued to roll out the Simplified Arrival process during the pandemic border closures, so frequent pre-pandemic Canadian cross-border travellers may experience the new process for the first time when travelling to the United States after November 8, 2021. CBP is using the biometric technology at more than 170 airports and land across the country. During the pandemic, Simplified Arrival expanded included:
- San Francisco Airport
- Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport
- Los Angeles International Airport
- Miami International Airport
- Kansas City International Airport
- Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
- Hawaii's Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
- Tampa International Airport
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina
- Northern New York ports of entry including Alexandria Bay, Ogdensburg, Massena, Trout River, Fort Covington, Chateaugay and Churubusco
- Sweetgrass Montana land port
- Eastport Idaho land port
Key Facts On Simplified Arrival Process
Since first implemented in 2018, Simplified Arrival has continued to expand to more U.S. airports and land ports, the process had:
- been used on more than 100 million travellers into the United States
- has proven to be 98% effective
- has prevented more than 950 people from entering the U.S. using travel documents issued to someone else
- if a traveller cannot be matched to a photo already on record they will proceed through the traditional inspection process into the United States
Do You Have Questions About Crossborder Travel to the United States or Canada?
If you have questions about your eligibility to travel to Canada or the United States, contact Ackah Law for assistance.