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Fingerprint scanning equipment for UK visa program

Cross Match Technologies : 20 September, 2007  (Application Story)
Guardian fingerprint scanners to be used in UK missions as part of the UK biometric visa program.
Cross Match Technologies has been awarded a $4.4 million contract via the United Kingdom's Home Office Biometrics Framework Agreement for 1,385 livescan Guardian fingerprint scanning systems, as part of its new visa program implemented by UKvisas.

The state-of-the-art L SCAN Guardian scanners will be in operation by the end of this year in UK overseas missions, including embassies and consulates around the globe. Cross Match is delivering the systems in cooperation with its partner Steria UK.

Great Britain is the first EU country to collect biometric data in the form of ten fingerprints and a digital photo from every visa applicant.

Andrew Pestell, Head of Procurement for UKvisas, said: 'The introduction of biometric visas is a key part of our contribution to the Border and Immigration Agency's strategic objective to strengthen our borders. The recording of biometric information through our new fingerprint readers allows us to fix an individual's identity at the earliest point practicable so that only those with permission can travel to the UK."

Since the introduction of the first UK biometric visas, several hundred applicants have been detected while attempting to immigrate illegally to the UK. Fingerprints taken as part of the visa application process are checked against UK Government records to see if the individual is already known to the Border and Immigration Agency. Over 8,000 sets of prints have been matched quickly and successfully to individuals of concern using this technology. This proves the effectiveness of the biometric checks.

"We are pleased to provide our cutting-edge Guardian technology for the UK visa program and to contribute significantly to higher security standards in the UK and the European Union," said Gerhart Ernst, managing director of Cross Match Technologies, a subsidiary of Cross Match Technologies. "We are committed to delivering the highest quality systems to help secure national borders worldwide."
The Guardian is designed for high-volume biometric applications such as visa issuance and border control. The device allows the collection of high quality fingerprints in only a few seconds, and meets international standards that comply with government requirements in many countries.
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