Toronto airport launches self-serve passport kiosks

If you’re headed down to some warm, snow-less place in the U.S. for the holidays, and you’re passing through Toronto, you may want to take note – you can now use your passport at a kiosk, cutting down your wait time in the customs line up.

About 40 kiosks have been set up in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, allowing U.S. and Canadian passport holders to skip the line for customs declarations.

Branded as “automated passport control” kiosks, a traveler can insert his or her passport into one of these machines, use the touchscreen to answer declaration questions, have a photo taken, pick up a printed slip, and then go up to a customs official and show him or her the completed slip. This gives passport holders the chance to make declarations a self-service process.

While the passport kiosks have been up and running since earlier this spring the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) officially rolled them out last week, making an announcement alongside U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Travelers have already been taking advantage of the kiosks in airports in Vancouver and Montreal.

By bringing in these kiosks, the goal is to make “Toronto Pearson into an even stronger North American gateway and a truly global airline hub,” the GTAA said in a statement, adding IBM Corp. helped develop the machines.

“Toronto Pearson is committed to the continuous development of our airport facility and our passenger experience,” said Howard Eng, president and CEO of the GTAA, in a statement.

“Our vision is to encourage growth while offering excellent customer service and APC will help us achieve this objective.”

In 2012, 35 million people passed through Pearson, making it the second largest airport in North America based on international passenger traffic.

And according to the GTAA’s numbers, these new kiosks will help about 5 million U.S. and Canadian passport holders move through the airport a little faster – something that will definitely help travelers over the holidays.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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