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Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, Jamaica - a warm welcome

SITA’s kiosks work seamlessly with our border management systems to offer fast and secure border processing. It is their extensive experience and unique solution of automated border control, biometrics and border management that made SITA the ideal partner.

Jennifer McDonald, Chief Executive Officer; Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency
Published
25 November 2015
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Even border clearance is better on "the island of all right"

Nobody wants a long wait at border control after landing in a place that calls itself “the island of all right.” That’s just one reason that in December 2014, Jamaica became the first country in the Americas to allow passengers arriving from any international location to use kiosks for self-service immigration border clearance. Introduced by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) of Jamaica for arriving passengers in Kingston and Montego Bay, the automated border control kiosks (ABCKiosks)– supplied by leading air transport and government IT solutions provider SITA – were expected to increase border throughput by close to 60% through the use of sophisticated biometric and document checks. Passengers simply scan their passports to identify themselves while a camera on the kiosk takes their photo. This information is then cross-referenced to verify identity and checked against government watch lists. Passengers answer immigration questions on kiosk touch screens and once cleared are given a receipt to show as they exit. Interacting with immigration officials is needed only if there is an issue, and the whole process takes less than a minute. A total of 15 kiosks are in operation at Jamaica’s two busiest airports – Norman Manley International in Kingston (KIN) and Sangster International in Montego Bay (MBJ) – which together welcome approximately 1.7 million international passengers each year. The introduction of innovative technologies for border processing is part of both PICA’s vision and an overall national investment in tourism enhancement. As a trusted partner to PICA for existing border security solutions, combined with its unique experience working with airports and airlines in Jamaica and the Caribbean and across the world, it is no wonder that PICA chose SITA for this implementation.

An executive agency with strategic objectives

The addition of kiosks at Jamaica’s major international airports forms part of an effort by PICA to re-engineer its immigration processes to facilitate more convenient travel and incorporate new security features to strengthen its border. Improvement of the border control experience via the addition of innovative technology falls within the agency’s overall objectives to:

  • Implement critical work processes that ensure timeliness, efficiency and quality in producing outputs monitored through a performance management system
  • Deliver a world-class customer service product that meets the needs of all customers
  • Develop and maintain strategic alliances and communication protocols with key stakeholders
  • Create a properly resourced organization which has the staff, funding and equipment which is capable and competent to support national security initiatives

In this context, the challenge to SITA was to recommend a passenger-friendly solution that would increase both quality and efficiency. With automation positively transforming the travel experience at international borders across the globe – allowing travelers to self-process through border control at an increasing number of airports, seaports, and land borders – SITA’s iBorders® BorderAutomation ABCKiosks were the answer.

With iBorders®, ABCKiosks are only the beginning

Transforming today’s borders requires a set of capabilities integrating interaction, information and intelligence – while achieving an ideal balance between effective security and a smooth traveler experience. SITA’s iBorders® border security portfolio implemented by PICA is based on this model and comprises the following integrated solution:

  • Interaction: 15 iBorders® BorderAutomation ABCKiosks (10 at MBJ and 5 at KIN) and two monitoring stations (one at each airport)
  • Information: iBorders® TravelerData (ManifestData API) for inbound passengers
  • Intelligence: iBorders® IdentityAssurance biometric and biographic traveler database

iBorders® BorderAutomation ABCKiosks enable the clearing of large numbers of passengers in record time. For travelers holding biometric travel documents, automated border control ensures high standards of security by combining biometric identity verification with checks against watch lists and risk assessment data while improving efficiency by moving some manual tasks away from immigration officers. iBorders BorderAutomation works with all forms of government-issued electronic IDs and supports all ICAO-approved biometrics. As a long-time SITA customer, PICA also knows it can rely on SITA’s support infrastructure, including extensive management and monitoring tools provided for border supervisors and SITA's extensive onsite and remote maintenance and support services. SITA experts proactively monitor infrastructure, identifying and resolving problems often before they impact services – ensuring PICA’s automated border is always available and operating at maximum capacity.

A unique end-to-end solution

iBorders Border Management is a unique, end-to-end solution that optimizes traveler interactions at the border, identifies high-risk travelers, reduces document and identity fraud and lowers the cost of dealing with unwanted and inadmissible persons. It also improves the facilitation and speed of processing low-risk passengers, enabling skilled immigration officers to put their focus where it is most needed. SITA’s iBorders border security portfolio provides complete situational awareness by combining all available information from multiple agencies, delivering real-time insights into border operations. The value of the data increases significantly once integrated with data from government systems – the end result being that government agencies have the right information in the right place at the right time. Advanced reporting and performance analysis tools ensure efficient and risk-based resource allocation through a four-layered approach:

  • Information - comprehensive traveler information from airlines and other carriers, as well as integration with external data sources such as government databases
  • Intelligence - powerful risk assessment tools combined with travel document and identity verification transform traveler data into actionable intelligence
  • Interaction - pre-clearance for passengers in advance, secure risk-assessed self-service border clearance for travelers holding biometric travel documents
  • Insight - comprehensive metrics on border performance combined with predictive analytics to enable risk-based allocation of resources and management of border operations

SITA solutions

The following components of SITA’s iBorders portfolio were deployed at Norman Manley and Sangster International airports, making the process both faster and more secure:

  • iBorders® BorderAutomation ABCKiosks - utilize capture and validation of passport data, capture and verification of biometric data and capture of required immigration declaration data. Intuitive, ergonomic, easy to use, they have a small footprint and are easy to deploy and operate.
  • iBorders® IdentityAssurance - verifies individuals against government biographic and biometric watch lists. Provides unparalleled levels of data and information privacy and security. Consolidates data from multiple sources to provide certainty about the identity of each traveler.
  • iBorders® TravelerData - allows governments to access information as a complete set of data, validated and in a usable format, before travelers arrive at the border.  Acquires, correlates, normalizes and stores data from different sources, including reservations and departure control.

Setting the bar

Implementing ABCKiosks has cut processing time from an average of two minutes to less than a minute, increasing passenger throughput from roughly 1,000 per hour with 34 officers to more than 1,600 with officers and 10 kiosks at Montego Bay alone.

Noting these results and the high levels of customer satisfaction, delegations from neighboring nations seeking to introduce ABC technology at their ports of entry have drawn on Jamaica’s experience with SITA – the proven global leader in border security and identity management solutions. More than 35 countries and over 60 government entities use SITA’s iBorders® technology to process over 100 million passengers annually.  For further information, please contact us.

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