eGates being tested at Sangster International Airport today
Six eGates now being installed at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay are scheduled to be tested this morning as Jamaica’s border security officials continue their drive to improve efficiency and service for travellers.
Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wynter will be among the officials testing the eGates which are basically automated passport control systems that use biometric technology to authenticate the identity of passengers.
It was not clear on Thursday when the six eGates will be commissioned into service, but with Jamaica projected to welcome more than one million visitors from the United States alone for the upcoming winter tourist season, PICA is likely to press for them to be up and running as quickly as possible.
On Thursday the Jamaica Observer learnt that an additional three eGates are being installed at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, but the total number will increase to 15 soon.
The gates, which are a feature at many airports worldwide, scan the passport and take a photo of the passenger’s face, which is then compared to the digital image stored in the passport’s microchip.
They serve as an alternative to using desks staffed by immigration officers, thereby allowing passengers to avoid queues and get through passport control much faster.
Additionally, they free up immigration officers to concentrate on more critical border security duties.
On September 1, 2023, PICA introduced an electronic declaration form which replaced the paper C5 Card.
The online C5 passenger declaration form, which must be completed by travellers entering Jamaica, is aimed at facilitating the efficient movement of passengers.
Last Saturday as well, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang said that before the end of the year airline passengers will have access to 100 immigration kiosks, moving up from 80, thus easing congestion in the arrival halls.