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BehindBlueEyes
26th Oct 2018, 20:50
Travelling over the years to the USA, I (and everyone else arriving on the aircraft) am routinely fingerprinted at immigration/border control. I’ve often wondered if my prints are kept on the AFIS file permanently, even though I’m not a US citizen?

Got me wondering why we don’t do the same in the U.K.?

Gertrude the Wombat
26th Oct 2018, 21:17
The answer to the second question is dead simple:

For the same reason you can't be arrested for nor carrying ID with you on the street: we're not a police state.

Pontius Navigator
26th Oct 2018, 22:03
The answer to the second question is dead simple:

For the same reason you can't be arrested for nor carrying ID with you on the street: we're not a police state.
GTW, whilst accept that we are not a police state and don't require ID on the street we are tracked or at least teachable by the state should they wish, but the OP specifically asked about border security.

British citizens have retinal scan identification, foreign visitors do not. Demonstrably foreign visitors may come and go with fake or false passports and some even without. Why there for so we not routinely fingers print foreign visitors?

obgraham
26th Oct 2018, 22:08
The answer to the second question is dead simple:

For the same reason you can't be arrested for nor carrying ID with you on the street: we're not a police state.

Does that apply to a non-UK citizen or a non-UK resident? (I don't see the answer in a quick googlie.)

Pontius Navigator
26th Oct 2018, 22:17
Throughout all my working life I have been required to carry ID. In one of my jobs I am required to check peoples' ID and fill in paperwork should they not have a photo ID. Oddly only in the polling booth is no ID required, your word is sufficient.

Gertrude the Wombat
26th Oct 2018, 23:50
Does that apply to a non-UK citizen or a non-UK resident? (I don't see the answer in a quick googlie.)
A policeman can ask you for your name and address, but cannot arrest you for not carrying an ID card, as we have no such things.

Gertrude the Wombat
26th Oct 2018, 23:51
the OP specifically asked about border security
I thought the OP was asking about fingerprints. We only fingerprint criminals.

obgraham
27th Oct 2018, 01:14
We only fingerprint criminals. What about suspects?

ExSp33db1rd
27th Oct 2018, 03:25
Mentioned before, sorry, but it seems appropriate here. Entered the USA a few years ago, just before the present Visa Waiver, ESTA system was fully adopted but was on trial, and I was on the last few months of a pucka, fully operational, old fashioned VISA as a hangover from my last aircrew employment. Was photographed, fingerprinted etc.then the clerk said ... " Are you the Mr. X. XXX who first entered the United States of America on 4th Dec. 1959 as crew member of aircraft G-AOVR operating service No. BA 514 from London Heathrow airport to New York ?" He had every single entry I had made into the USA over the past 50+ years available. I asked him why he was subjecting me to all this interrogation, as others off my flight were walking through ? Oh, he replied, I guess they are on the VISA waiver programme that we are trialling. So - they have no VISA and you know little about them, and yet you are subjecting me to all this crap ? Yes, you have a VISA, so I have to.

Border security ? All a load of nonsense, as we know, easier to fly to Mexico and just walk over.

Adam Nams
27th Oct 2018, 05:58
There are two main national databases of fingerprints:

IDENT1, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDENT1) contains fingerprints gathered by the police when they take someone into custody. If you are convicted of a serious crime you may have your prints stored indefinitely, or if you are arrested or charged but not convicted in connection with a serious crime your prints may be stored for up to five years, or indefinitely if you are convicted of another crime.

The Immigration and Asylum Biometrics System (IABS) contains fingerprints collected from non-UK citizens when they enter the country.

Both databases can be accessed by the police through fingerprint reader devices (eg Project Lantern).

KelvinD
27th Oct 2018, 09:36
Re not carrying ID on the street in the UK; if Mr. Plod stops you for some reason and asks who you are and you have no proof of identity, he can take you off to the police station "while we satisfy ourselves as to whether you are who you say you are or not".
I was once stopped for speeding in North Wales (by a policeman who later gathered himself a reputation for being a born again Gestapo officer!). While in the police car, he asked me for my driving licence and I showed him one of the, then new, pink plastic things we now have. He declared "that is not a driving licence". I asked him what he thought it was then and he replied "it is an ID". My offer of reading lessons didn't go down too well! To be fair to Heddlu Cymru, he was not a local but his accent made him probably a native of Chester or thereabouts.

BehindBlueEyes
27th Oct 2018, 09:55
Thank you for your responses - interesting stuff. Itís also created another question; are therefore, all US citizenís fingerprints on AFIS, irrespective if theyíve committed a crime or not?

As a slighty humorous aside, until recently when the US introduced the online ESTA application, travellers had to complete a green card which asked questions about whether they had been a member of the Nazi party, indicted for war crimes, had outstanding warrants etc etc. It also required the length of stay and US address. When you passed through border control the form, which had a tear-off strip, was separated, one part kept by the agent and the bottom part retained by the traveller which was collected upon departure. I often wondered if some poor s** had the job of sitting in a room somewhere matching up the two parts to check no one had outstayed their welcome.

Pontius Navigator
27th Oct 2018, 10:02
I thought the OP was asking about fingerprints. We only fingerprint criminals.
Again a technically correct answer that fails to address the question and saying we are not a police state again sidesteps the question.

Pontius Navigator
27th Oct 2018, 10:10
ExSpdBrd, on the Ancestry website you may access immigration records. It is not comprehensive but more will no doubt be added over the years.

Pontius Navigator
27th Oct 2018, 10:12
BBE, I once had to get a visa to enter Yugoslavia. It was valid 3 month. When I left at the other end of the country there was no check. I often wonder what would have happened had I returned some months later.

ian16th
27th Oct 2018, 11:44
BBE, I once had to get a visa to enter Yugoslavia. It was valid 3 month. When I left at the other end of the country there was no check. I often wonder what would have happened had I returned some months later.

There was a case in South Africa, a UK citizen somehow innocently got out of the country without it being recorded. So he was logged as overstaying his visa.

Sometime, years, later as a passenger of a cruise ship that docked in Cape Town, as he came ashore he was slapped in clink!

A case of bureaucracy gone mad.

419
27th Oct 2018, 12:19
BBE, I once had to get a visa to enter Yugoslavia. It was valid 3 month. When I left at the other end of the country there was no check. I often wonder what would have happened had I returned some months later.

This is why whenever I visit the USA (I go there a couple of times each year), I always wait a couple of months after leaving then check to make sure that my departure has been recorded.
I've never had a departure missed off my record yet but I do know someone that this happened to and it took a while for it to get it sorted out.

ORAC
27th Oct 2018, 12:43
Its been about 10 years since I visited the USA, before that I had a B1 visa and was resident for a couple of years. Had one passport stolen, always had a hassle at the desk after that as they checked I really was me.

I am TG and now have a new birth certificate, new name, new passport with ex as F not M, new home address etc. Sometimes wonder if they'll figure out to link the records if I visit again.

charliegolf
27th Oct 2018, 14:46
What about suspects?

And what happens to the prints when you are eliminated from enquiries?

CG

KelvinD
27th Oct 2018, 16:40
In the 1980s I was travelling, including a few stops in the US. Half way through my trip, I was flying from Seattle to Vancouver on an early morning puddle jumper with an intermediate stop at Bellingham "International". When I arrived at Seattle the airport was pretty much moribund but I was able to find the right place to check in for my flight. I asked and walked all around the airport trying to find a suitable Immigration counter to have my paperwork sorted, passport stamped etc but failed. Absolutely nobody at the airport was able to help and I had to give up. The pilot of my flight to Vancouver suggested that Bellingham might be a good place to find the appropriate authority. He walked with me to the terminal and we were just as unsuccessful as at Seattle and off we went to Vancouver with passport unharmed and my immigration form still in my possession.
Upon my return home to Muscat I popped in to the US Embassy to explain my worry re possible difficulty in future visits to the US. They were at a loss as to what to do so in the end I gave them the remains of my immigration form, along with a letter explaining events and that seemed to do the trick. Further visits to the US caused me no problems at all.

Gertrude the Wombat
27th Oct 2018, 17:07
Somewhere in that part of the world (slightly further north) the immigration formalities consisted of a girl kneeling on the planking on the floating bit of the floatplane dock to do things to my passport (US <-> Canada, forget exactly where and which way). Foolishly I asked if I could take a photo of her - she thought for a bit and said "I've no idea whether that's allowed, so I'm saying no"; I should have just taken the photo without asking.

obgraham
27th Oct 2018, 17:37
All my travel in and out of US in the last 40 years has been either with Greencard, or later with US passport. However, never once have I seen a place in an airport that actually records my departure from the US. (not so in plenty of other countries, I know). And by road, you never stop on he US side when departing.

So for those on ESTA or another visa, what procedure are you supposed to follow when departing?

Just curious, not arguing on this.

419
27th Oct 2018, 18:28
When you enter and depart the USA on either a commercial air flight or a commercial ship and you have entered on a short term stay visa or visa waiver then the airline or ship company are required to inform US immigration of your departure and as a passenger, there is nothing that you are required to do.

ahwalk01
27th Oct 2018, 18:40
A lot of off topic stuff here. Rules below.

https://www.immihelp.com/visas/usvisit.html

ExSp33db1rd
28th Oct 2018, 03:39
...........matching up the two parts to check no one had outstayed their welcome.

Probably ... A million years ago, it seems now, Mrs ExS Mk 1 entered the USA as a passenger, and had the little green bit stuck into her passport, but left as airline crew - her last trip before we married - so nobody bothered to collect the green slip. Years later she got a letter from the USA Imm. Dept. asking if she was still in the USA. The letter was sent to our then UK home, and address not relevant when she entered before marriage under her maiden name. Q.1 How did they locate her married name and new address ? Q.2 If they thought she was now in the UK, why did they ask if she was still in the USA ? Big Brother is always watching you.

So for those on ESTA or another visa, what procedure are you supposed to follow when departing?
I believe that the airline are responsible for reporting departures, but not sure, but I have been visiting back and forth ever since the ESTA system started and have never been questioned on re-entry, but have entered my passport into a digital scanning device when checking in at the USA airport of departure.

But .... here in NZ Those Of A Certain Age get a modest sum paid during the 3 Winter Months to help towards home heating electrical bills, however, we are supposed to advise the Gummint if we are away for more then 28 days during the 3 month period of payment, and it is stopped, or reclaimed if already overpaid. Last June Mrs. ExS and myself departed NZ for 3 months, unaware that we were supposed to advise the Gummint ( no excuse, but this is a new thing ) When we got back there was a letter in the held mail, posted 2 months previously, advising that NZ Customs and Imm. had advised them that we had departed the country without us advising them, ( naughty, naughty,) and there was, at that date, no record of us re-entering, so maybe we had been paid the heating allowance when we were not present and therefore not entitled to it, monster criminals that maybe we were ? Big Brother is watching you.

baggersup
29th Oct 2018, 16:06
As for the US border checks, a friend retired from the Secret Service told me many years ago this was instituted mainly to be sure that people who looked alike and were of a similar age could not hand around a passport to be used by different individuals to enter the U.S., especially if they were intent upon criminal activity, terror or other nefarious purposes by illegal entry. The fingerprint has to match the passport.

It helps to cut down on illegal entries by people who otherwise would be barred for various reasons and cannot qualify for a visa, etc.

BehindBlueEyes
29th Oct 2018, 19:19
As for the US border checks, a friend retired from the Secret Service told me many years ago this was instituted mainly to be sure that people who looked alike and were of a similar age could not hand around a passport to be used by different individuals to enter the U.S., especially if they were intent upon criminal activity, terror or other nefarious purposes by illegal entry. The fingerprint has to match the passport.

It helps to cut down on illegal entries by people who otherwise would be barred for various reasons and cannot qualify for a visa, etc.

That would make sense, except my fingerprints aren’t on file anywhere - unless the US has been keeping my records. Hence the original question.

By coincidence, I happened to be watching Border Security - America’s Frontline. The series is filmed on the US/Mexico borders and in this particular episode, a young man was having his digital passport scanned. Something was triggered and red alert appeared on the officer’s screen, indentifying him as ‘armed and dangerous.’ By passing verbal codes between his fellow officers, two armed guards approached and handcuffed him within seconds. It transpired, after questioning, that it was a case of mistaken identity; he happened to have the same name as a wanted criminal. The man in question was very good natured about it and said he accepted that these things happen, but clearly, fingerprint ID and scanning neither confirmed or exonerated him.