Customs adopts electronic forms to speed arrivals

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, May 7, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayinthesky/2013/05/07/customs-kiosks/2142415/

    Six U.S. airports are embarking on a program to get international travelers through customs a little faster by using an electronic kiosk rather than a paper I-94 form.

    Customs and Border Protection sought to streamline the process of filling out an I-94 form, which declares the traveler's immigration status and employment authorization.

    Rather than fill out paper forms, international travelers at specific airports will be able to stop at a kiosk to answer the questions. The machine will then print out a receipt, and the traveler still has to bring their passport and receipt to a customs officer for verification.

    "In addition to saving millions of dollars for both CBP and the travel and tourism industry, automating the I-94 and going paperless will save valuable time for both travelers and CBP officers," says Thomas S. Winkowski, acting customs commissioner.

    Airports also welcomed the change. Greg Principato, president of Airports Council International-North America, said the program "is a tangible example of the benefits technological solutions can have in improving the international arrivals process for passengers."


    Read More: http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayinthesky/2013/05/07/customs-kiosks/2142415/
     
  2. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    Um, isn't the receipt a piece of paper?
     
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  3. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    So instead of standing in a 30-minute line, I can go to this kiosk. And when I'm done at this kiosk, I have to get back in that same line and hope the wait time did not increase. And what happens when every arriving passenger arrives from an international flight? Lines at the kiosks, then lines for a customs official? Sounds like a nightmare in the making for me.
     
  4. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Ditto +1 :rolleyes:
     
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  5. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Agree that it does not sound very efficient in this description.
     
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  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Not that it matters to me, but I have plenty of time on board and would rather fill out the paper form during the 7-11 hour flight than after arrival.

    In fact, despite having Global Entry, I have initially filled out the customs form as a backup in case the machines are down or don't recognize me or ... I have never needed it (machines seem reliable), so I don't do it anymore. But it wasn't a great burden.
     
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  7. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    I hear ya. I actually keep multiples of the custom forms for the 2 countries I enter and leave the most (US and GB), so I always have a form in case the airplane staff doesn't, and I always fill mine out in advance. I just don't get this new system that not only adds an unnecessary delay, but also still uses paper as TravelBear stated above. Many times I return to the US in an airport that only has one line; no eye recognition or GE or anything. You pick up your luggage and have to get in line with everyone else.

    If this system was designed correctly, it would have sent the data to the agents so that when they scanned your passport, the information would sync and tell them within a second that you are cleared for entry (which still doesn't address the issues of having to wait in line for the kiosk and waiting again in line for a customs agent). I'm no expert in this area, but spending 1/2 the year overseas I can definitely see the flaws with this new "paperless and money-saving" system. And here I was thinking their goal was expediting passengers, when it seems all they have done is give us another way to be delayed.
     
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  8. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Excellent point- given everyone now must have a Visa, ESTA, or USA passport- what is driving this at all?
     
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  9. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    I'm not sure, but replacing paper with 'paper' and adding another (unnecessary) round of delays serves no one in a positive way. Why don't these policy makers just ask us instead? :D
     
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  10. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    This seems designed only for the I 94 (people traveling with a visa) white form and for no other purpose, i.e., it is am immigration, and not a customs, issue.
     
  11. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    Yes, although it concerns me when they mention this as only "one program" in their effort to go paperless, so I wonder if it will roll out and affect landing cards as well. If it sticks with just the I-94, then that's a large amount of people out of my line. :D
     
  12. hy1

    hy1 Active Member

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    There is still a wait since they line up the planes by arrival time. So, if you get there early you still have to wait until your plane enters the electronic queue, then it's fast. But the wait could be long depending upon how many international flights arrived around the same time.
     
  13. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    Yes, I have had a 0 wait before (just my plane coming in) and a two-hour wait (multiple int'l arrivals arriving). My last trip was the one that landed me first in line with no one around, so I am going to try to book that same arrival for my trip in August and hope the schedules haven't changed much. :)
     
  14. mikeschemm

    mikeschemm Member

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    I travel Intl. all the time, usually through SEA. I signed up for GOES (Global whatever), so already use the Kiosks. Most of the time I just get a piece of paper to hand to the customs guy after you pick up your luggage. Was rerouted to SFO last trip. Imagine my surprise when they still wanted me to go through immigration at SFO. I asked, and they said "this is not Seattle". They did, however, let me cut to the front of the line, and they just looked at the piece of paper, with no delay.
     
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