Canadians entering the United States with visas will have to scan 10 digits rather thanjust two under a newly expanded security program launching later in November.
Under the current US-VISIT program, Canadiansand others entering the United States on visasmust scan both index fingers and have a digital photograph taken by a border official.
Canadians engaged to marry U.S. citizens must also go through the process, and the U.S. has announced that Canadian students and nurses working in the U.S. will also be subject to the screening.
Washington now plans to install a new line of 10-fingerprint scanners at all 311 Canada-U.S. ports of entry by the end of 2008.
The stepped-up biometrics measures begin Nov. 29 at Washington's Dulles International Airport.
In a briefing Tuesday in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the US-VISIT program affects as many as 10,000 Canadians.
The program, combined with a rule requiring passports or other secure documents containing proof of citizenship, will eventually reduce wait times for visitors, said Paul Morris at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.
"We will simply have a better idea of who's in front of us and be able to more quickly process them," said Morris.
The 10-fingerprint scanners will appear first in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, New York, Orlando and San Francisco.
Eventually, Toronto's Pearson International Airportwill have one to pre-screen Canadian visa holders entering the United States.