BY LARA OZAKI
The A.B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam, has procured eight Automated Passport Control kiosk units for use in the Customs and Border Protection arrivals hall as part of its efforts to improve entry processing
efficiency. The units are scheduled to be installed and operable by July 22, pending training of CBP personnel, Victor J. Cruz, engineering supervisor of the airport, reported to the airport board of directors on June 30.
“The [Automated Passport Control units] are said to decrease passenger wait times by 30%,” Charles H. “Chuck” Ada II, executive manager of the airport, told the Journal.
Automated Passport Control is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that expedites the entry process for U.S., Canadian and eligible Visa Waiver Program international travelers with Electronic System for Travel Authorization approval by providing automated processing through CBP’s primary inspection area. Travelers will use self-service kiosks to submit their customs declaration form and biographic information for faster processing.
Eligible passengers do not need to fill out paper customs declaration forms but will instead proceed directly to the APC units in the passport control area, scan their passports, take a photograph and answer a series of questions to verify biographic and flight information. Once passengers complete automatic processing at the kiosks, receipts will be issued from the units, which they will then bring together with their passport to a CBP officer to finalize the inspection for entry into the United States.
According to the U.S. CBP website, 42 U.S. and Canadian airports utilize APC kiosks, which are operable in English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch and German. CBP is also testing usage for lawful permanent residents and plans to roll out the program for them by the end of the year.
The eight kiosks cost $342,000. Together with construction and design costs, the total implementation cost of the units was about $600,000, according to the airport.
The airport was also notified on June 28 of its approval for the U.S. CBP Reimbursable Services Program for fiscal 2016, which provides for additional inspection officers upon the request of private sector or government entities. Out of 52 applicants this year, 10 were selected for approval, including the Guam airport.
The Reimbursable Services Program is an alternative funding program by CBP. Services can include customs, immigration, agricultural processing, border security and support at U.S. ports of entry and may cover costs such as salaries, benefits, overtime expenses, transportation and administrative fees. Airports have a statutory limit of 10 agreements within the program per year, and reimbursable services are limited to overtime and support services.
“It’s a tool for us to use in dire times when we do see an increase in flight activity and/or special events,” Ada said. He said he expects to utilize the program about eight times per year, such as during Golden Week, Chinese New Year and special events similar to the Festival of the Pacific Arts, he said.
The installation of APC units and the reimbursement services agreement both address short-term objectives set by the governor’s task force to address wait times in the CBP halls. Mbj