New SIA kiosks now able to process younger passengers
The newly acquired automated border crossing (ABC) kiosks at the Sangster International Airport (SIA) will now allow children as young as 13 years old to use the machine for processing through airport immigration. Prior to acquiring the updated technology, only passengers 18 years and older could use the kiosks.
The additional twenty machines bring to thirty, the number of kiosks that are now available at SIA to process incoming passengers and were recently commissioned into service by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA). The kiosks were acquired through financing from MBJ Airports Limited through the Airport Authority of Jamaica’s (AAJ’s) airport improvement fees.
The existing ten machines were also retrofitted to bring them in line with the new technology allowing for more persons to be processed quickly through the airport.
Other passengers who will be invited to use the kiosks include:
- Jamaican Nationals with a valid passport
- Visitors who possess electronic passport with biometric information (via embedded chip)
- Caribbean Nationals who are members of CARICOM
- UK, Canada and USA passengers with Machine Readable Travel Documents
However not all categories of passengers will be allowed to use the kiosks during this phase. The following categories are not allowed to use the kiosk:
- Passengers who require a visa
- Families with children under the age of 13 years
- Passengers who are users of wheelchairs
- Holders of any type of Jamaican permits (such as Work permits/ exemptions, student permits, permanent residents, temporary residency and unconditional landing). These passengers will be processed by the officers at the desk.
- Emergency Certificate (non-passport) holders
Additionally, passengers arriving on airlines that fail to dispatch their passenger manifest to Jamaica’s immigration service through the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS), cannot use the kiosks.
In the meantime, PICA will be taking steps to add to the current stock of ABC kiosks at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) during the course of 2019. There are, at present, five (5) kiosks at NMIA.
The ABC kiosks were first acquired in 2014 to boost PICA’s capacity to process in-coming travellers to the island. The equipment takes an average of 60 seconds to process a passengers while it may take an average of two minutes to process passengers manually by an immigration officer.
According to PICA’s CEO, Andrew Wynter, “This latest addition of the twenty ABC kiosks is intended to improve on the Agency’s customer service delivery and forms part of PICA’s overall strategy of satisfying cross border travellers, through enhanced travel facilitation”. He adds that, “Whilst it is important that the Agency carries out its mandate of securing the nation’s borders, it is also our desire to ensure that passengers’ travel experience is a pleasant and hassle-free one”.