Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has unveiled 40 new automated passport control (APC) kiosks at the Tom Bradley International Terminal to expedite the entry process for international passengers.
The new kiosks can be used by American and Canadian citizens travelling from abroad, as well as travellers from 38 Visa waiver countries registered with the US Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) programme.
These will allow passngers to submit their customs declaration forms and biographic information electronically, which will help in reducing time spent at the CBP office.
Passengers have an option to select one out of 13 languages. Easy-to-follow instructions will help scanning of passports, taking a photograph using the kiosk, answering questions and fingerprinting for non-US citizens. After receiving a receipt, they can then proceed to a CBP officer to complete their entry into the US.
The time taken for these procedures will be reduced substantially as the entire process can be completed in 90 seconds or four minutes, for an individual or family of three respectively.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said: "These kiosks will allow passengers to avoid long lines and reduce wait times at customs, so they can be out the door faster and on their way to exploring the greatest city in the world.
"This important improvement to the passenger experience is all part of our work to overhaul nearly every terminal and bring rail to LAX, because Los Angeles deserves a world-class airport."
The service is free of cost and does not require pre-registration or membership. It also maintains a high level of protection of the information collected from the passengers, as there is no need to fill out a paper customs declaration form.
While the use of the kiosks will not eliminate inspection by CBP officers for the verification of the purpose of travel, the officers will not need to scan a traveller's document, allowing for shorter processing times.
LAWA, the Los Angeles City department that owns and operates LAX and two other southern California airports, sponsored the $2m project, with each APC kiosk costing $36,000. The annual amount of $1.6m for staff to direct and assist travellers with questions on using the new machines will be provided by TBITEC (Tom Bradley International Terminal Equipment Company), the consortium of 39 airlines operating in TBIT.
The airport expects to receive around 70 million passengers this year, of which 19 million are expected to be international travellers.