Biometrics collected by US-VISIT and linked to specific biographic information allow for the establishment, then verification, of a person's identity by the U.S. immigration and border management, law enforcement and intelligence communities. This enables U.S. authorities to more effectively identify people that:
- Are known to pose a threat or are suspected of posing a threat to the security of the United States;
- Have violated the terms of their admission to the United States; or
- Are wanted for commission of a criminal act in the United States or elsewhere.
US-VISIT Protection of Personal Information
Personal information will be kept secure and confidential and will not be discussed with, nor disclosed to, any person within or outside the US-VISIT program other than as authorized by law and in the performance of official duties, and as described above. Careful safeguards, including appropriate security controls, compliance audits, and memoranda of understanding with non-Department of Homeland Security agencies will ensure that the data is not used or accessed improperly. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security Chief Privacy Officer will review pertinent aspects of the program to ensure that proper safeguards are in place.
Access to US-VISIT Information
The personal information collected and maintained by US-VISIT may be accessed by those employees of the Department of Homeland Security—Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – and Department of State who need the information to carry out mission-related responsibilities.
In accordance with the Department's policy published on January 4, 2004, on the Department's website and in the Federal Register on January 16, 2004, the Department may also share this information with federal, state, local, tribal, and foreign government law enforcement agencies.
The privacy protection roles and responsibilities of Department of Homeland Security employees, system owners and managers, and authorized third parties who manage or access US-VISIT information include:
Department Employees: Users of US-VISIT systems and records, Department employees shall:
- Access records containing personal information only when the information is needed to carry out their official duties
- Disclose personal information only as authorized by law
US-VISIT System Owners/Managers shall:
- Follow applicable laws, regulations, and US-VISIT program and Department policies and procedures in the development, implementation, and operation of information systems under their control.
- Conduct a risk assessment to identify privacy risks and determine the appropriate security controls to protect against the risk.
- Ensure that only personal information that is necessary and relevant for legally mandated or authorized purposes is collected.
- Ensure that all business processes that contain personal information have an approved Privacy Impact Assessment. Privacy Impact Assessments will meet appropriate OMB and Department guidance and will be updated as the system progresses through its development stages.
- Ensure that all personal information is protected and disposed of in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and US-VISIT program and Department policies and procedures.
- Use personal information collected only for the purposes for which it was collected, unless other purposes are explicitly mandated or authorized by law.
- Establish and maintain appropriate administrative, technical, and physical security safeguards to protect personal information.
Third Parties: Third parties, including other law enforcement entities, who may have access to information collected by US-VISIT shall comply with requirements of memoranda of understanding (MOUs) drafted to address, among other matters, privacy issues, or shall follow the same privacy protection guidance as Department employees.
Personal information collected by US-VISIT will be retained and destroyed in accordance with applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
Contact the US-VISIT Privacy Office
People whose personal information is collected by US-VISIT may, to the extent permitted by law, examine their information and request correction of inaccuracies. Individuals who believe US-VISIT holds inaccurate information about them, or who have questions or concerns relating to personal information and US-VISIT, should contact:
US-VISIT Privacy Officer
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Further information on the US-VISIT program is also available at www.dhs.gov/us-visit