U.S. to fingerprint visa applicants

The U.S. Embassy and consulates in Japan will begin fingerprinting visa applicants in July as part of stricter personal identification measures, the embassy said Wednesday.

All U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide will have introduced the system by October, it said.

Visa applicants will be electronically fingerprinted during interviews, and the data will be cross-checked when visitors arrive in the United States, it said. The fingerprinting procedure will take 30 seconds.

The range of visa applicants subject to interviews will be expanded beginning July 1 to cover some 90 percent of applicants, excluding those aged below 14 or above 79, the embassy said.

Visa-exempt travelers to the United States visiting for up to 90 days will be fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival in the country beginning Sept. 30, it said.