The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) of Jamaica today announced that kiosks, supplied by SITA, will use sophisticated biometric checks to process passengers quickly and securely, and traveller 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 traveller programs.
Jennifer McDonald, CEO, PICA, says: “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, and easy to use and the whole process takes less than 60 seconds, and they use their passport to identify themselves before 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.
Travellers’ answers immigration questions on the kiosk touch screen and once cleared is given a receipt to show as they exit the customs hall, and do not need to interact with an immigration official unless there is an error or concern.
Paul Houghton, SITA President, Americas, comments: “Jamaica continues its long tradition of welcoming travellers 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, which handle between them close to three million passengers each year, of which approximately 1.7 million are international visitors.
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.