WASHINGTON: Weekends are busy times at the airport’s international terminal. And on Saturday afternoons, when multiple international flights land at nearly the same time, the lines have sometimes been long.
Dulles Airport recently installed 40 automated passport control kiosks to speed the customs process for arriving international travelers.
“The system is new so there is a bit of a learning curve not only for the passengers, but also for those who are directing the passengers to the cues,” says Kimberly Gibbs, spokeswoman for Dulles International Airport.
Qualifying passengers scan their passport at the kiosks, answer a series of questions on the touch screen before moving on to a face-to-face meeting with a customs officer.
The kiosks eliminate the need to complete paper customs forms.
One international passenger arriving on Nov. 15 says he saw “total chaos” in the arrival hall and airport personnel were not effectively directing the passengers.
Gibbs says efforts are being made to make the process more efficient.
“We’ve reconfigured the cues, we’re looking at different combinations to see what works best for our travelers and then we’re readjusting it as needed based on the number of customers that are waiting,” Gibbs says.
Passengers eligible to use the kiosks are returning U.S. and Canadian citizens and non-U.S. citizens from visa-wavier countries.