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Old Apr 16, 07, 8:44 pm   #1
 
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What do US customs see when they swipe passports?

I've always wondered, when you come back into the US and they swipe your passport and read stuff on the screen - does anyone know exactly what they are seeing? Do they know everywhere you've been (if so - how - are all the country databases connected)?

Always been curious on this.....
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Old Apr 16, 07, 9:05 pm   #2
 
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I think this is what they see.

US Customs can see where you went, the airline flight number as well as if you have any convictions. I would also suspect they can see if you were in jail etc.
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Old Apr 16, 07, 9:12 pm   #3
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They pull up the results from the last time any of your female relatives went through one of those full-body see-thru x-ray security scanners.

That way, if she's hot, he can ask you to get him a date on pain of not being let back into the country.

Oh well. Guess I'm on the list now that I gave that up.
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Old Apr 16, 07, 9:23 pm   #4
 
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Very niiiiiice, how much :-)

Interesting. I wonder how it all works - do all countries passport swipin' folks databases link together? Otherwise, if I fly from say Texas to London, but then from London to Somalia, via Sharjah - how would the US agents know I've been to Somalia?
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Old Apr 16, 07, 10:23 pm   #5
 
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Machine readable passports only contain the information that is written on the passport. Minimal biographic data. The new RFID passports are supposed to have a scanned picture and the potential for fingerprints and iris scans.

http://www.britishairways.com/travel...ver_en_row#mrp


"It will include a contactless chip of at least 32 Kbytes of memory used to store biographic and biometric data and images. This data can then be instantly transferred in a contactless fashion to a passport reading system.

In order to achieve interoperability between all the passports and readers of the countries that use the e-passport, their manufacturers will rely on the implementation of international standards for compression and formatting of this biographic and biometric data. These standards are defined by ICAO, and will reference ISO SC 37 standards for biometrics.

ICAO has defined what they call the LDS or "logical data structure", which identifies the fields where biographic and biometric data will be placed on the chip in the e-passport. For example, "Data Group 1" holds the biographic data we typically associate with a passport, such as name, nationality, and date of birth. "Data Group 2" holds the "global interchange feature", a compressed facial image which will serve as the universal biometric. Datagroups 3 and 4 are intended for fingerprint and iris biometric images and data, respectively. "

http://www.icao.int/mrtd/download/technical.cfm
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Old Apr 16, 07, 10:37 pm   #6
 
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Great question and I've always wondered the same. Most likely they can see whatever is in the US Gov't database that is attached to your passport number as scanned. This data and perhaps photo should jive with your presence and arrival statements. Sometimes departures from foreign countries involve passport swipes and my assumption has always been that they input data into one's passport database (ie departing on flight xxx, arrive BOS 12:15PM, etc.), so that they know you're going to arrive and sort of where you've been, but I don't know.

Would appreciate an informed answer to this from anyone who really knows and has or is involved in the process.
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Old Apr 16, 07, 10:41 pm   #7
 
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A very suspicious question indeed...does OP have something to hide?? :\
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Old Apr 16, 07, 10:50 pm   #8
 
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Hah - hardly. Always just wondered what they are looking at as it seems to take some time sometimes!!!
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Old Apr 16, 07, 10:53 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auher View Post
Hah - hardly. Always just wondered what they are looking at as it seems to take some time sometimes!!!
Do you travel alot internationally? If so, then your travel history might be what's coming up on their screen.
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Old Apr 17, 07, 1:37 am   #10
 
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Wink

I am pretty sure they have access to the NCIC and interpol database as well.

This on top of the info you entered for APIS.

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Old Apr 17, 07, 3:22 am   #11
 
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As a previous poster mentioned the machine-readable part contains only the information that is on the passport and of course the passport number. Usually the first thing that USCBP will be looking for is that the passport is valid, not reported fake or stolen, this takes up the bulk of time there at the counter AFAIK
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Old Apr 17, 07, 8:17 am   #12
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I had an agent show me once what scanned with my passport. He was curious as to all the trips I made into the U.S. and wanted to know the nature of them.

He also knew of my previous visa's (TN, B-1 etc.) that were associated to my passport. I didn't see anything about criminal flags but maybe that is because I don't have any problems in that respect.
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Old Apr 17, 07, 9:45 am   #13
 
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They either see this:

or this:
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Old Apr 17, 07, 10:03 am   #14
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They see basic info... name/DOB/demographic info such as race, hair, eyes etc.

Anything that does not look right will throw up a red flag, as it obviously should.

Also lists ports of entry such as EWR, MIA, LAX.

They spend a lot of the time (at least for US citizens returning) determining that the passport is indeed valid and that no goverment agency wants to talk to you for any reason.

No idea what it looks like for a foreigner visiting the US however.
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Old Apr 17, 07, 10:43 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elite VIP View Post
Do you travel alot internationally? If so, then your travel history might be what's coming up on their screen.
That is what I have always thought came up during Customs screen. Travelling abroad a lot may not raise suspicions, but certain travel patterns may.
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