Passengers travelling to the United States can now pre-clear U.S. Customs and Immigration at Abu Dhabi International Airport using new automated passport control (APC) kiosks from air transport and government IT specialist, SITA. Introduced in December 2014, the self-service kiosks use advanced biometric technology to streamline border control procedures and process passengers securely in less than 60 seconds.
The new kiosks in Abu Dhabi enable passengers to provide their travel documents, biometric data and customs declaration prior to speaking to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. This increases efficiency by off-loading work from the immigration counters to the kiosks. SITA collaborated with the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency as well as Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, on this project.
Richard Hill, Etihad Airways’ Chief Operations Officer, said: “Since its opening in January last year, U.S. preclearance has been extremely popular with passengers flying from Abu Dhabi to the United States where they arrive as domestic passengers. The process has been greatly enhanced by the introduction of automated passport control kiosks which allow passengers to pass through border controls quickly and seamlessly, significantly improving their travel experience.”
Hani El-Assaad, President, SITA Middle East, India and Africa, said: “SITA is pioneering solutions in self-service border technology all around the world. Our APC kiosks use the latest biometrics to facilitate fast, accurate and secure passenger processing at the border. This ensures that airports, airlines and governments can provide a warm welcome, while still providing a high level of border security. For airports like Abu Dhabi which are experiencing strong passenger growth, these kinds of automated solutions are becoming increasingly important to help manage greater volumes of passengers securely and efficiently.”
Passengers from the United States, Canada and the 38 countries that are part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program can use the kiosks in Abu Dhabi for self-service immigration. The whole process takes less than 60 seconds. Passengers simply scan their passports to identify themselves, provide their fingerprints and a camera on the kiosk captures their face biometric. The passport and biometric information captured is then cross-referenced to verify the passenger is who they claim to be and then checked against government watch lists. There are several immigration questions the passenger needs to answer on the kiosk touch screen, and once cleared, the kiosk prints out a receipt to show as they exit the customs hall.
SITA is a world leader in providing border control technology and has developed its border control solutions in close collaboration with border agency partners worldwide, as well as airlines, airports and industry groups. Around 30 governments globally use SITA’s iBorders® systems and capabilities to keep their borders secure and transform their border security operations.