The Commonwealth Ports Authority unveiled yesterday afternoon seven automated passport control machines at the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport.
Touted as a means to cut down the processing time of incoming passengers, the machines are used to speed the processing time for inbound passengers under U.S. immigration entry.
The APCs work like automated teller machines, with travelers scanning their passports on the machines and answering basic questions. The machine then issues a slip of paper that is then presented to the immigration officer.
CPA executive director Chris Tenorio led the unveiling of the machines on Monday. He was joined by Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Chris Concepcion, MVA deputy director Judy Torres, Imperial Pacific International Ltd. majority shareholder Margaret Cui Lijie, and Globe International Group’s Tom Liu.
“We hope that these APC machines will help lessen the wait times as well as increase efficiency during the immigration process,” said Tenorio.
“On behalf of the Commonwealth Ports Authority, I would like to extend my appreciation to the [MVA] and all of its sponsors for contributing the necessary resources to purchase the newly installed APC machines.
“Thank you, Customs and Border Protection for working hand in hand with the CPA to ensure that we address and resolve these issues without jeopardizing the CNMI’s security and protection, and to the entire ad hoc committee for working diligently with all federal and local agencies to help improve our airport facilities.
“We hope that these APC machines will provide a more efficient flow of operations upon entry and convenience to all visitors and residents entering or returning to the CNMI,” he said.
Arriving passengers at the Saipan airport endure long wait times at immigration and it is hoped the machines will speed up that process.