TAMPA — Officials at Tampa International Airport on Monday will unveil the latest tool to make life easier for international travelers: the Automated Passport Control kiosk.
The new kiosks will be in Airside F, which handles international flights, and will allow passengers to automatically go through the customs process after arriving from cities like London; Panama City, Panama; Toronto and Zurich, Switzerland. The program is run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, which oversees the entry of international travelers to TIA.
"Travelers using APC experience shorter wait times, less congestion, and faster processing," according to CBP.
U.S. and Canadian travelers can use the new system, as can eligible travelers from other nations visiting the United States through the Visa Waiver Program. CBP said lawful permanent residents, or those who legally live in the United States but don't have citizenship, should be able to use the program by the end of the year.
CBP's automated system is free and doesn't require travelers to preregister or join the program.
As passengers deplane, they'll head to the kiosks to have their passport automatically scanned by the machines. Their photograph will be taken, and they'll answer questions about themselves and their flight. They'll also submit a customs declaration form. After they've finished the process, the machine will give them a receipt.
Once that process is done, passengers will move on to a CBP officer and present their passport and receipt for final inspection. The automated kiosks will replace the paper customs forms that travelers have to fill out.
TIA is one of 22 airports across the country using the CBP's new automated kiosks and the fourth airport in Florida.