CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announce that Automated Passport Control (APC), a technology that uses self-service kiosks to expedite customs processing, has been expanded to include residents of Canada with valid Canadian passports. Chicago O’Hare is the first U.S. airport to offer APC and is now the first to offer the technology to Canadians arriving from abroad. APC began operating July 1, 2013 at O'Hare's International Terminal 5.
“Since its implementation, APC has delivered incredible results to speed up Customs and Border processing for all international visitors arriving to Chicago O’Hare,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “With the ability to now offer this service to residents of Canada, the arrival process at O’Hare will be faster and more efficient not only for U.S. and Canadian travelers, but for all international visitors to Chicago. This initiative furthers O’Hare’s competitive edge and is a boost to Chicago’s goal to increase tourism to our city.”
Before today, only U.S. passport holders were eligible to use APC. The system has been approved by CBP to now accept valid Canadian passports from Canadian citizens. APC is a free service and does not require pre-registration or membership.
“I want to again thank U.S. CBP and our airlines partners for working with us to implement APC at O’Hare. The service is now even more effective in maximizing efficiency and reducing wait times with its expansion to include Canada residents,” said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. “Improved CBP processing at O’Hare is just one of the many ways we are making Chicago O’Hare a ‘best-in-class’ experience for travelers.”
APC increases efficiency during CBP processing by transferring data collection duties to passengers who enter their information using a self-service kiosk. By removing the administrative responsibilities for a CBP officer to scan a traveler's passport and verify their paper Customs declaration, the time spent with a CBP officer is greatly reduced.
“This expansion further demonstrates CBP commitment of the facilitation of legitimate travel without jeopardizing CBP's mission objectives of protecting our Nation from those who wish to do us harm,” said Acting Director of Field Operation in Chicago, Steven Artino. “APC is one of many of our Business Transformation Initiatives that have proven to be extremely successful with the help of our airline partners, the Department of Aviation and the City of Chicago.”
The use of APC has dramatically changed the passenger experience in the international arrivals hall. During the first 40 days of use, the average wait time during peak hours was reduced by 16 minutes or 33 percent, while the number of passengers waiting over 60 minutes was reduced by 58 percent.
APC was developed by Vancouver Airport Authority in conjunction with CBP and was first implemented at Vancouver International Airport in May 2013. Vancouver Airport Authority provided both the APC technology and kiosks to the Chicago Department of Aviation, helping Chicago O’Hare become the first airport in the U.S. to offer APC, and now the first airport in the U.S. to offer APC to Canadian passport holders.
How APC works:
Passengers who are eligible (U.S. passport holders and Canada residents with valid Canadian passports at this time) can proceed directly to a self-service kiosk in the passport control area and no longer need to fill out a paper Customs declaration form. Travelers will be prompted to scan their passport, take a photograph using the kiosk and answer a series of questions verifying biographic and flight information, as well as to fill out their Customs declaration using the touch screen on the kiosk. Once passengers have completed the series of questions, a receipt will be issued. Travelers then bring their passport and receipt to a CBP officer to finalize their inspection for entry into the U.S. APC is easy to use and maintains the highest levels of protection when it comes to the handling of personal data or information.