Jamaica first in Americas to allow all passengers to use kiosks for faster border clearance

Posted: 12 December 2014 |

SITA kiosks to increase passenger throughput by 60% at Jamaica borders…

Passengers arriving at the airports in Kingston and Montego Bay in Jamaica can look forward to faster border clearance with the launch of new automated border control (ABC) kiosks. The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) of Jamaica today announced that kiosks, supplied by air transport and government IT solutions provider SITA, will use sophisticated biometric checks to process passengers quickly and securely. Passenger throughput at the borders is expected to increase by close to 60%.

Jamaica is the first country, in the Americas to allow passengers arriving from any international location to use kiosks for self-service immigration border clearance. Other countries have experienced the benefits of biometric kiosks but have limited their use to select nationalities or those who have enrolled in trusted traveler programs.

Jennifer McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, PICA, said: “It is important that we welcome all our visitors to Jamaica in the best way we can and with SITA we had the confidence to offer this self-service to all passengers, and not just those who enroll in a trusted traveler program. SITA’s kiosks use biometrics and work seamlessly with our existing border management systems to offer this great service – fast and secure border processing for everyone.

“It was SITA’s extensive border security experience combined with its unique solution of kiosks, biometrics and border management that made it the ideal supplier to implement the system and provide the ongoing support that we need to ensure its smooth operation in the years ahead.”

Passengers of all nationalities can use the kiosks for self-service immigration. They are easy to use and the whole process takes less than 60 seconds. The passenger uses their passport to identify themselves and a camera on the kiosk captures their face biometric. The passport information and biometric captured is then cross-referenced to verify the passenger is who they claim to be and then checked against government watch lists. The passenger answers immigration questions on the kiosk touch screen and once cleared is given a receipt to show as they exit the customs hall.  Passengers do not need to interact with an immigration official unless there is an error or concern.

Paul Houghton, SITA President, Americas, speaking at the launch in Montego Bay, said: “Jamaica continues its long tradition of welcoming travelers in the best way possible by making border processing easier, faster and more secure. PICA is a long-standing customer of SITA and is continually evaluating how technology can improve the experience at the border. SITA has used its decades of airport, airline and border security experience to provide an integrated solution of kiosks, biometrics and border management. This delivers the security and efficiency demand by PICA while providing passengers with a smooth arrival in Jamaica.”

In total 15 kiosks are in operation, at the country’s two busiest airports: Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston and Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay. Together these airports welcome close to three million passengers each year, of which approximately 1.7 million are international visitors to Jamaica. This major national investment is part of PICA’s vision to introduce innovative technologies for border processing which will help improve tourism for the country.

SITA is a trusted partner to PICA for existing border security solutions. This partnership, combined with its unique experience working with airports and airlines both within Jamaica and the Caribbean and across the world, made SITA the ideal choice for the kiosk implementation. SITA is the proven global leader in border security and identity management solutions with 36 countries and over 60 government entities using its iBorders® technology to process over 100 million passengers annually. Many international airports in the USA, including JFK New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Tampa, have biometric immigration kiosks provided by SITA.