According to a recent announcement by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be bringing its Simplified Arrival program to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu. The facial biometrics-based Simplified Arrival is slated to replace HNL’ s Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks that have been active at the airport since February of 2016.
The Simplified Arrival program is an enhanced international arrival solution that the CBP has been rapidly expanding to a number of land, sea, and air border checkpoints throughout the US. It uses biometric authentication in the form of facial recognition to automate and streamline the processing of passengers entering and exiting the country by doing away with the manual document checks that are typically required.
“Use of technology in the international arrival process continues to advance,” said Jade Butay, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director. “HDOT is proud to partner with CBP to bring the latest in inspection point processing to Hawaii.”
HNL joins a growing number of Simplified Arrival participants, including entry points in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, as well as northern land crossings in New York and Michigan.
Simplified Arrival works by having travelers who arrive at the designated entry point into the US submit to a photo at a primary inspection point. Facial recognition software is then used to extract biometric data from the photo, which is then verified against the images of the traveler found on their official documents, such as a passport or visa photo.
“On average, we saw 7,000 international arrivals per day before the pandemic,” said Ross Higashi, Hawaii Department of Transportation Deputy Director for Airports. “Now we’re getting about 300 per day. Making the improvements at the primary inspection area now will position us for efficient, streamlined service as travel recovery continues.”
The program is only mandatory for non-US citizens, while also excluding a select group of foreign nationals who have already had their biometric information placed on file with the CBP. Travelers that are eligible to opt out and wish to do so must notify a CBP officer of their intentions, and then submit to a manual document and security inspection.
May 7, 2021 – by Tony Bitzionis