International passengers arriving at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas can enjoy a quick and smooth journey through the customs and immigration process with new automated passport control (APC) kiosks provided by SITA, the global provider of border security and IT solutions to governments, airlines and airports.
The Automated Passport Control self-service kiosks, which went live in mid-February, use a biometric and biographic data capture process first deployed in the United States using SITA technology. This allows passengers to provide their travel document, biometric data and customs declaration prior to speaking to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. This increases efficiency and streamlines processes at the ports of entry by removing the administrative responsibility for a CBP officer to scan a traveler’s documents.
Rosemary Vassiliadis, Director of the Clark County Department of Aviation, said: “Customer service is critically important to us at McCarran because we know the majority of our passengers choose to come here even though there are other places they could have visited. We believe providing a great airport experience upon arrival will inspire those travelers to choose to visit us again in the future. The addition of these kiosks gives our customers another option to expedite their entry into the United States, and more quickly begin to experience all Las Vegas has to offer. We are pleased to have worked with SITA and CBP to bring these time-saving kiosks to McCarran’s port of entry.”
Paul Houghton, SITA President, Americas, said: “The APC kiosks that we have supplied to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas are just the first step in a journey to use innovative technology to improve the passenger experience at customs and border control. Looking ahead we are investigating how mobile applications could be used for passport control and other border checks, with the aim of improving the passenger facilitation while ensuring security levels are maintained.“
SITA’s APC kiosks have been approved by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for accurate data collection and verification of passenger facial and fingerprint biometrics against passengers’ passports. This means that they can be used to process any passenger from the United States, Canada or any of the 38 visa waiver countries without any pre-enrollment.
Passengers use a touch screen to complete their customs declaration form and the system automatically verifies and validates their travel documents, checks flight information, captures an ICAO-compliant face image and for foreign nationals up to 10 fingerprints. The full procedure can be completed in 90 seconds or less. At the end of the self-service process, travelers receive a receipt to be presented to the CBP officer for the final clearance at a fast-track dedicated lane.
SITA has installed APC kiosks at many airports across the United States including Boston, JFK New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego and Tampa. They have been very well-received by passengers, airlines and airports with reports of significantly reduced waiting times. From 2009 through 2014, the number of travelers who utilized a foreign flag air carrier at McCarran increased by more than 60 percent, rising to more than 3.3 million last year; airport officials expect continued growth in international visitation, including many arrivals who will utilize these new kiosks.