U.S. and Canadian citizens can now fly through Passport Control in less than two minutes at Miami International Airport, thanks to new automated kiosks.
The airport has installed 36 self-serve kiosks in its north terminal, which replace Customs and Border Patrol agents in checking some passports. After clearing Passport Control, travelers still must have their bags checked by agents.
It's a way to allow travelers to quickly move along.
For now, the kiosks are available only to U.S. and Canadian citizens arriving from abroad on Concourses D, E and F. That entails 13 airlines, among them American, British Airways and Iberia. Eventually, MIA also would like to make kiosks available to all international travelers.
The kiosk scans a passport, takes the traveler's photo and ensures that image matches the photo in the passport. If the kiosk spots discrepancies, a traveler would be subject to inspection by federal agents.
"If the kiosk approves your passport, it prints out a receipt showing you've been cleared, and you're on your way," airport spokesman Greg Chin said.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is studying the logistics of adding the kiosks, said spokesman Greg Meyer.
"As our international operations continue to increase, there's clearly a need to streamline procedures for inbound U.S. and Canadian citizens," he said.
Palm Beach International Airport has no plans for now, said spokeswoman Stephanie Richards.
Miami International is only third airport in the nation to install the kiosks, behind New York's John F. Kennedy and Chicago O'Hare. The 36 kiosks will free up about nine agents, who can now focus on speeding along non-U.S. citizens.
Chin said the kiosks were needed because in the past three years, the airport has seen a 15 percent increase in international passengers. Last year, MIA handled 19.3 million international travelers.
"Effectively, we're victims of our own success," he said.
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