In September 2014, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) unveiled 40 new Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks to expedite the entry process for international passengers arriving at Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). U.S. and Canadian citizens arriving from abroad, as well as travelers from the 38 Visa Waiver Countries who are also registered with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program, are eligible to use the new machines.
APC kiosks allow international travelers, including family groups, to submit their customs declaration form and biographical information electronically, reducing the time they spend with a CBP officer. Passengers can select from a menu of 13 languages. Easy-to-follow instructions guide the user through the process, which includes scanning your passport, taking a photograph using the kiosk, answering questions, and fingerprinting for non-U.S. citizens. Travelers will then receive a receipt confirming their information and proceed to a CBP officer to complete their entry into the United States. Individuals can complete the process within 90 seconds, and a family of three within four minutes.
"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," says Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "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."
“After a long flight, the last thing passengers want to do is stand in line to process through federal inspection to enter the U.S.,” said Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey. “With faster processing times, shorter lines, and increased convenience these APC kiosks bring to LAX, we expect the passenger experience of the millions of international passengers who travel through LAX each year to improve substantially. We thank the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the airlines operating in the Tom Bradley International Terminal for their invaluable support of this program.”
APC is a free service, does not require pre-registration or membership, and maintains the highest levels of protection when it comes to the handling of personal data or information. Travelers opting to use the kiosks will no longer have to fill out a paper customs declaration form.
Travelers will still be inspected by a CBP officer to verify the purpose and intent of their travel. However, the self-service kiosk removes the administrative responsibility for a CBP officer to scan a traveler’s document, allowing for shorter processing times. Passengers then proceed to baggage claim, customs declaration, and exit.
During the startup period before the kiosks officially launched, travelers already experienced a reduction in wait times for primary inspection at TBIT. This was especially true for returning U.S. citizens, who are experiencing an average 39% reduction in wait times. For example, airport officials expect a flight with 300 passengers to normally process in 45 minutes with multiple booths open and without APC kiosks. With the kiosks, returning U.S. citizens are waiting an average of 17.5 minutes or less.
Eligible foreign passport holders are experiencing an average 18% reduction in wait times. Airport officials expect a flight with 300 passengers to normally process in 60 minutes with multiple booths open and without APC kiosks. With the kiosks, eligible foreign passport holders are waiting an average of 11 minutes less for primary inspection.
LAX officials expect nearly 70 million total passengers will use LAX this year, of which approximately 19 million will be international travelers. Tom Bradley International Terminal serves almost half of LAX’s international market, of which over five million are expected to be inbound passengers who might process through the upgraded federal inspection screening.
Airport officials are planning to install APC kiosks in Terminal 2, LAX’s secondary international terminal, during its $320-million terminal renovation, which is scheduled for completion in 2016. Similar technology is currently in use in Terminal 5, installed by Delta Air Lines as part of its ongoing $250-million renovation program.
For more information about LAX, visit www.lawa.org/welcomeLAX.aspx.
For more information on what to expect during a CBP admissions inspection, and for general rules governing products that are admissible and prohibited from entering the United States, visit the Travel section of the CBP website at www.cbp.gov/travel.