The program is backed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service Data Management Improvement Act (DMIA) of 2000.
According to the US-VISIT policy, foreigners who wish to enter US airports and seaports will have to be fingerprinted and photographed. The officials will have the ability to instantly check the criminal background of visitors and immigrants.
People under age 14 and over age 79 are excempt from the biometric enrollment of US-VISIT.
Initially, visitors who are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) will not be included in the US-VISIT policy. After October 26 2004, countries in the VWP will be required to show that their passports incorporate biometric technology.
For a list of countries participating in the VWP program see: Visa Waiver Program.
USA and Canada have special agreements and currently most Canadians are not subject to US-VISIT.
US citizens are not required to be digitally fingerscanned and photographed when they enter US territory. In the future the Department of State may issue US passports with digital technology.
Brazil has requested to be exempted from this measure, and failing this, has implemented a similar program of fingerprinting and photographing American citizens entering Brazil. The Brazilian program has commenced in Guarulhos International Airport in Sao Paulo in January 2004.