Biometrics are unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, that can be used for automated recognition. At the Department of Homeland Security, biometrics are used to detect and prevent illegal entry into the U.S., grant and administer proper immigration benefits, vetting and credentialing, facilitating legitimate travel and trade, enforcing federal laws, and enabling verification for visa applications to the U.S.
DHS provides biometric identification services to protect the nation through its Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), which supplies the technology for matching, storing, and sharing biometric data. OBIM is the lead designated provider of biometric identity services for DHS, and maintains the largest biometric repository in the U.S. government.
This system, called the Automated Biometric Identification System or IDENT, is operated and maintained by OBIM. IDENT currently holds more than 200 million unique identities and processes more than 300,000 biometric transactions per day.
Through biometric interoperability with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Justice (DoJ), DHS shares critical biometric information using advanced data filtering and privacy controls to support the homeland security, defense, and justice missions.
Click below to learn more about the biometric missions of the DoD, DoJ, and other U.S. Government agencies.