Border control kiosks have been installed for the first time ever on a passenger cruise ship, making border clearance easier and faster for passengers.
Two Border Xpress kiosks have been fitted on the MV Kydon, which travels from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The machines provide expedited border clearance for U.S. and Canadian citizens, U.S. permanent residents, ESTA travelers and B1/2 or D visa holders.
The initiative is the culmination of a five-month trial conducted by Innovative Travel Solutions, Vancouver Airport Authority and cruise ship operator Ferries del Caribe. The onboard kiosks connect via satellite so that passengers can complete their customs declaration and scan their passports onscreen, and the encrypted information is sent to border control agencies.
“No matter where they are implemented, Border Xpress kiosks enable immigration officers to process more passengers per hour, reduce passenger wait times and overall operating costs, and free up border officers to focus on security, intelligence and enforcement activities,” said Chris Gilliland, director of ITS, Vancouver Airport Authority.
Border control is under increasing pressure as passenger numbers rise and security regulations tighten. A GAO report last November found that CBP is short by about 1,900 officers across its service. Border Xpress kiosks have alleviated some of that pressure at airports and, according to YVR, the automated technology has led to a reduction in passenger wait times of more than 50 percent. As global cruise passenger numbers topped 25 million in 2017, there is no doubt that border processing at seaports is starting to come under similar pressure, and self-service kiosks could make a huge difference to border control agencies’ workloads.
Border Xpress kiosks are currently in place at 39 airport and seaport locations, and to date they have processed more than 160 million passengers.