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Homeland Security

U.S. Passenger Accelerated Service System (USPASS)

INS Passenger Accelerated Service System (INSPASS)

On 1 March 2003, service and benefit functions of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) transitioned into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Around this point in time, the INS program, INSPASS became USPASS.

The INS Passenger Accelerated Service System (INSPASS) is an automated system that can significantly reduce CBP immigration inspection processing time for authorized travelers. INSPASS combines automation with a hand geometry biometric image to validate the claimed identity of an individual. Eligible frequent travelers may enroll in the program at any INSPASS enrollment office.

When arriving at a port of entry, the traveler proceeds to an INSPASS inspection queue. There, the person inserts a card issued to them at enrollment into an INSPASS kiosk, similar to automated bank teller devices.

Responding to messages on the kiosk's touch-screen display, the traveler is prompted to enter their flight number (certain persons only) and to place their hand in a hand geometry reader. Screen prompts are used to achieve correct alignment of the hand with the hand reader. The kiosk software automatically compares the live scan of the traveler's hand geometry biometric to the image captured at enrollment.

If the traveler's identity is validated by this comparison, an I-94 or receipt of his/her inspection is printed by the kiosk that directs the traveler to proceed to baggage claim. If this check is not successful, a screen message refers the traveler to a CBP officer in a nearby inspection booth. Processing times of 15-20 seconds are typical, and times as low as 11 seconds have been observed at existing INSPASS kiosks.

INSPass kiosks are operational at six international airports: Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Newark, NJ (EWR); John F. Kennedy, NY(JFK); Washington Dulles, VA (IAD); and the U.S. preclearance sites at Vancouver and Toronto in Canada.

Who is Eligible to Enroll in INSPASS? Citizens of the United States, Canada, Bermuda, legal permanent residents of the United States; certain landed immigrants in Canada and Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries with visa classifications B-1, D-1, TN, WB; some non-immigrants in classes A, E, G, and L who travel to the United States on business three or more times a year, or who are diplomats, representatives of international organizations, or airline crews from the VWP nations are those that may voluntarily enroll in the INSPASS Program.

Access to INSPASS is not available to anyone with a criminal record or to aliens who require a waiver of inadmissibility to enter the United States. The PortPASS card used with INSPASS remains the property of CBP and may be revoked or canceled at any time.

The following 27 countries are participating members of the VWP: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom*
*Includes only those persons with United Kingdom passports endorsed with the right to abode in the United Kingdom

To be eligible to apply for VWP admission to the United States, an applicant must:

    Travel to the United States for business, or to transit through the United States enroute to another country;
  • Plan to stay in the United States for a period greater than 90 calendar days;
  • Arrive on a commercial carrier, signatory to an VWP agreement with CBP;
  • Maintain a valid, unexpired passport issued by a VWP country to establish the applicant's citizenship;
  • Possess a completed and signed Form I-94W Arrival-Departure Record (green);
  • Hold a valid return or onward ticket that can be used to remove the traveler from the United States;
  • Show no previous violations to any immigration status or laws.

Is There a Fee to Enroll in INSPASS? There is no fee for INSPASS enrollment at the present time, although this may change in the future.

How Long Is INSPASS Enrollment Valid? Currently, INSPASS enrollment is valid for two years. Users are warned of pending card expiration by the kiosk. When a card expires, the kiosk refers the user to a CBP officer when an expired card is used.

How Do I Enroll in INSPASS? Visit or contact an INSPASS enrollment office and request Form I-823 (Application - Alternative Inspection Services). Forms are also available by calling 1-800-870-3676, or download the form from http://uscis.gov/graphics/index.htm. Complete the application according to the instructions provided. Return to an enrollment center with the required documents to support your application. Depending on local INSPASS enrollment center policy, you may submit pre-enrollment information through the mail or by facsimile. However, please remember that you must appear in person at an INSPASS enrollment office to be interviewed and to have a card issued.

Applicants must be prepared to provide a valid passport to support claimed citizenship and identity. The fact that INSPASS enrollment is valid at all airports with INSPASS capability, regardless of the foreign location the person is coming from, creates the requirement for all applicants to provide a valid passport, except those specifically exempted by law.

At your enrollment interview, a CBP officer will enter your application data into a database system, and collect a digital photograph, fingerprints, hand geometry, or other biometrics from you. The officer will interview you to determine your admissibility to the United States, and INSPASS enrollment eligibility. If approved, you will be issued a PortPASS card and instructions on using an INSPASS kiosk.

You can then use INSPASS on your next entry to the United States from a foreign port of embarkation. Not all U.S. Ports-of-Entry have INSPASS kiosks. If you enter the United States at a Port-of-Entry that does not have an INSPASS kiosk, or if the INSPASS system is temporarily unavailable for your use, you will have to wait in a queue for the next available CBP officer, as was the case prior to your enrollment.

The following provisions also apply to the INSPASS program or use of a PortPASS card:

  • Mere enrollment in INSPASS, or possession of a PortPASS card, does not confer any special immigration benefit or preferential immigration inspection status;
  • The PortPASS card is not a substitute for a passport or visa if one is required for you to enter the United States;
  • You must also have a valid travel document (passport, visa, or U.S. alien registration receipt card) on your person when you make an entry to the United States. In certain situations, the list of acceptable travel documents that may be carried includes a valid Border Crosser Card (BCC); and,
  • All persons using automated inspections kiosks provided at a Port-of-Entry in connection with an INSPASS program are subject to automated random or discretionary compliance reviews to ensure that U.S. laws are enforced, or for quality control purposes for the various INSPASS programs.

Where Are INSPASS Enrollment Offices Located? NOTE: If a mailing address is provided, completed applications may be mailed in. However, all applicants are reminded that they MUST appear, with their valid passport, at any INSPASS Enrollment Center for a decision on their application, and to have a card issued. It is not necessary to come to the same enrollment center that the application was mailed to. A pending application file can be accessed from any INSPASS Enrollment Center.

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Page last modified: 13-07-2011 12:51:10 ZULU