Visitors May Bare Fingers For U.S. Visas

Visitors May Bare Fingers for U.S. Visa

By Associated Press
May 4, 2007, 6:01 PM EDT

WASHINGTON — Most foreigners wanting to come to the United States will soon have to bare all — their fingers, that is — when applying for U.S. visas, the State Department said Friday.

Instead of scanning the prints of just two fingers of visa applicants, as is now the case, U.S. embassies and consulates are beginning to require scans of all 10 digits to better screen out undesirables, it said.

“The department is instituting the 10 fingerscan standard to improve our ability to detect and thwart persons ineligible for visas by raising the accuracy rate in matching fingerscans,” it said in a notice published in Friday's Federal Register.

The move is part of tighter immigration and border control restrictions enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that initially required scans of only two fingers from visa applicants.

But technological advances now allow for all 10 of an applicant's fingers to be scanned with ease, and devices to do so will be in place at all embassies and consulates by the end of 2007, the department said.