New customs app, beagles part of international travel experience


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Traveling internationally? There’s a new app for that. And a camera and the beagle brigade. 

All are part of the customs experience when travelers exit and enter the U.S. via Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has gone high-tech, and to the dogs – all in an effort to make your travel experience run smoothly this holiday season and beyond. 

When exiting or entering the country, smile wide in a close encounter with a camera connected to custom’s cloud-based facial-matching service. It’s part of the Traveler Verification Service or TVS’  innovative identity verification, which uses facial biometric technology. 

The camera matches your live image with existing photos from a gallery of your travel documents. Once the live picture verifies it’s actually you — and not an imposter — you are cleared to proceed to a customs officer who green-lights you to enter or exit the U.S. 

Additionally, passengers now have the ability to hold mobile passport control with a new app. This aims to reduce passport inspection and wait times. 

And lastly, get ready to be sniffed — or have your stuff sniffed. Members of the Beagle Brigade use their snouts and highly developed sense of smell to sniff out any pests, bugs or agricultural “no-nos” in your luggage that have been brought in from outside the country. 

In searching for prohibited agricultural products, the canibes averages 75,000 seizures a year. They are top dogs sniffing out suspect fruits, veggies and meats that carry disease and bugs that may infect agriculture at home. 

In the event you fear your photos will invade your privacy or end up in the wrong hands, officials say they are captured in a secure encrypted connection. The photo is reportedly deleted hours after it’s taken.

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