What does the black bar, measured in a percentage, mean on the CBP APC slip? Some measured at 100%, others 85%, etc, so is this a risk factor assessment for the passport or customs inspectors? Example image:

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  • I think he means APC, not ACP, and CBP, not TSA. He's asking about the vertical bar just to the right of the picture on an APC machine receipt.
    – user38879
    May 15, 2018 at 14:32
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    Example of such a bar available here: twitter.com/hstefson/status/812504371040755713
    – jcaron
    May 15, 2018 at 15:00
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    That paper has nothing to do with the TSA. TSA runs security inspection checkpoints to prevent people from bringing weapons and other instruments of violence onto airplanes. You generally pass through these before departure; only in some circumstances would you encounter one after arrival. The paper you're asking about is related to immigration and customs inspection of travelers arriving in the US. That's why it says "U. S. Customs and Border Protection" on it; CBP is a different agency. That said, I do not know what that bar indicates.
    – phoog
    May 15, 2018 at 15:08
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    @CHJ "Since you already have a big 'X' on your receipt, means you are not allowed to go through the fast lanes but have to go through regular passport control lanes!!" Not necessarily - at many Airports there's a dedicated lane for APC users who got the X. At times, it may in fact be quicker, if there are few "X people"
    – Crazydre
    May 21, 2018 at 2:12
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    @CHJ that image was posted by an actor on Twitter, no need for redactions.
    – JonathanReez
    May 21, 2018 at 5:59

3 Answers 3


Warning: This answer is based off of strong speculation and contains no real sources.

Border crossing technology is either really dumb, or at the forefront of data mining and AI. It either processes your declarations form and verifies your documents, or it's using facial recognition, behavioral pattern matching, and data mining to assess. Basically, it's working to replace the officer with both the mundane paperwork and validation, and the "gut feeling" officers use to determine if the person warrants further interrogation.

So, while the cynical might say it's a threat risk assessment, it is probably a confidence assessment, which is a bit more benign. Instead of it being a measure of your risk to the U.S. it is probably a measure of the computer's ability to determine if you are legitimate. So a high number is not so much of a "he's a threat," as much as it is "I don't have enough information and I need a human's help with this person."

  • As user71659 said in their answer, the number is most likely the inverse of my answer, where a higher number is a higher confidence, and a lower number would say "I need a human's help." May 29, 2018 at 20:36

Logical guess is the bar and FM = Face Match. It's how well the picture matches the photograph stored on the RFID chip of the passport.

It has been reported that the APC kiosks match this:

This requires that APC kiosks authenticate identity by matching people’s faces to the biometric record in their e-passport...

“Now, there is added security as the CBP requires facial biometrics to be matched to the e-passport being presented. Almost 500 million e-passports have been issued globally; these hold facial biometrics while some also contain fingerprints. Our SITA APC kiosks comply with all the latest requirements and help bolster more efficient security checks at the airports.”


I had the same question, and have a new possible answer to posit: I think it's in reference to your height. Mine was 29, my husband's was 48, and we're about 18 cm apart in height. Since the kiosk automatically adjusts its height to take your picture, it's a possible explanation. Also, my height in cm is about 158, and his is about 178, so possibly the measurement begins at 130cm at the bottom of the bar.

If my assumptions are correct, then that would make the gentleman in the picture 200cm, or 6.5 feet. Perhaps he could confirm his height for us? And if anyone else has an example, we could easily validate or invalidate this answer.

  • This doesn't feel right. Why would your height matter to the CBP? It's probably not even recorded in the biometric data in most passports. Also, the H/M/L labels don't make much sense, an English speaker wouldn't use "high" or "low" to refer to someone's body height. Also the upper end of the scale would then be around 230 cm (7'6") which sounds pretty unlikely and would unnecessarily squeeze the range of common values.
    – TooTea
    Sep 27, 2018 at 15:11

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