You’ve booked your Hawaii vacation through Hawaii Aloha Travel, and the big day has arrived. You fly to Hawaii from a foreign country, and you’re ready to grab a connection through Honolulu to a neighbor island. But, wait! Your connection-time is short, and you still need to go through Customs on Oahu. Oh no! The line at the Passport Control Area is too long. You miss your flight. Has this ever happened to you?
If so (or even if the thought of it happening is irritating), you’re in luck. The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)has just announced the Honolulu International Airport will soon install Automated Passport Control Kiosks. It’s all part of an effort to create an Automated Passport Control (APC) area, so qualifying foreign visitors can expedite their way through the system.
“An average of 33 scheduled international flights come through Honolulu International Airport on an average day, with between 20 and 25 of these flights arriving during a four-hour period from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO. “These automated entry kiosks will really help to alleviate some of the congestion for our international visitors and allow them to get through customs quickly to have more time to catch a connecting inter-island flight or experience the Hawaiian Islands.”
The DOT anticipates that the APC program will reduce processing time by 30 percent, while continuing to maintain the highest level of safety and security. Thirty-two APC kiosks are currently being installed and are anticipated to be completed by November 2015.
But, before you get too excited, understand there are limitations to which passengers are eligible to use the automated kiosks. Passengers interested in using the APC kiosks must meet the following requirements:
- Entered the United States since 2008;
- Citizenship from one of the U.S. Visa waiver countries and
- Have ESTA travel authorization (U.S. and Canadian citizens are also eligible).
Here’s how it works:
Instead of filling out a paper Customs declaration form, eligible passengers can proceed directly to the APC kiosks in the passport control area. Travelers are prompted to scan their passport, take a photograph using the kiosk, and answer a series of questions verifying biographic and flight information. Once passengers have completed the series of questions and submitted their Customs declaration form, a receipt will be issued. Travelers then bring their passport and receipt to a CBP Officer to finalize their inspection for entry into the United States. The kiosks allow people residing at the same address to be processed together.
For visitors to Hawaii who meet the eligibility requirements, travel through Honolulu International Airport is about to get a whole lot easier and faster. And, that means you can get to your final travel destination faster, too!