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Two airports introduce new ‘Automated Passport Control’ kiosks

Travelers who belong to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry trusted traveler program — which costs $100 to join — love the fact that it allows them to speed through immigration formalities when re-entering the country. But now there’s a new alternative to make things a bit faster for other travelers.

It’s called Automated Passport Control (APC), and it is being put into use at Chicago O’Hare and at CBP’s preclearance operation at Vancouver International Airport in Canada. Instead of filling out a declaration card, travelers will be able to go to an APC self-service kiosk to scan their passport and answer a series of questions via a touch-screen; when they finish, they’ll get a printed receipt to present to a CBP officer.

“Travelers will still speak with a CBP officer after using the Automated Passport Control kiosks; however, this will allow for faster processing and increased focus on the traveler,” said CBP acting commissioner Thomas Winkowski. No pre-registration is required for users of the service.

The Chicago Department of Aviation said that as a result of the APC kiosks, “travelers will experience shorter wait times, less congestion, and faster processing, but will also be assured that the safety and security of passengers, employees and visitors remains a top priority.”

Chicago O’Hare is expected to have 32 of the kiosks installed by July 1, airport officials said.

The technology for the APC system was developed by the Vancouver Airport Authority, working closely with the U.S. CBP to make sure the agency’s security and privacy requirements were met.

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