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Automated passport control/immigration at DFW

We just came through Dallas/Fort Worth airport on return from our trip to France. The immigration process for US citizens reentering the US is now automated at DFW and a lot quicker than before. You simply go to one of the many kiosks at immigration, scan in your passport, answer a few questions about what you are bringing back into the country, etc. on the touch screen, have your photo taken and then print out what you have put in, then take the printout to an immigation officer who quickly stamps your passport assuming there are no issues such as exceeding the monetary limits of what you are bringing back, farm visits, etc. This beats the standing in line that we used to do at other airports. Have other airports adopted this new method of passport control?

Posted by
6627 posts

Yes they do this at Detroit - Wayne County.

Its hard to keep a straight face when trying to fit your head in the frame of the photo.

Posted by
9692 posts

Yes, Seattle. My experience of re-entering there and using them effectively is 1 out of 3. Once the machine read my name wrong from the passport and there is no way to correct it manually (I asked the agent about it), the other time I am not sure what was wrong but I got the big red X over my face. At least the line back to the regular agent was not as long as the regular line.

Posted by
1732 posts

Thanks for your input, Pam. Yes, the new system probably has a few bugs in it that need to be worked out. I still prefer it to the old method but have only experienced it once so we'll see.

Posted by
2469 posts

Philadelphia has it. We experienced it earlier this year, and found from out cabin door to leaving customs hall was about 22 minutes, saved almost 1/2 hour. PHL is our home base, and they have several international flights that come in about the same time around 3-4 PM, for which they do not have enough staff. We were astonished as to how much quicker this was.

Posted by
1068 posts

For me, the automated system was much quicker when I come back through Seattle.

Posted by
138 posts

Chicago O'Hare had automated machines last year. The customs line was LLOOONNNGGGG, and I knew I had a few hours to make my connection, but it was pretty fast.

Posted by
11243 posts

With every returning U.S. citizen being offered the machine entry, how is that different from Global Entry? I'm so glad I spent the time and effort to sign up now that everyone gets it. Not only did it cost me to apply, but the nearest interview center was an overnight trip.

The same with TSA Pre.....my brother flies a couple of times a year. He never applied for TSA Pre but gets offered that line every time he flies.

Posted by
1732 posts

I'm not sure how that differs from Global Entry, Frank. I thought there was a separate place for that when we arrived in DFW.

Posted by
1732 posts

Re: TSA Pre - sometimes I get offered that and sometimes I don't. Last year on my flight to Europe, I had TSA pre on one leg of the trip and then had to go through regular security like everyone else on the next leg of the trip and ended up getting strip searched because I had a knee brace on under my jeans and couldn't get the pant leg up over the brace. I'm a 65 yr old blonde grandmother. Hardly terrorist material. I was totally humiliated. My husband who flies with me never gets TSA Pre but because he is travelling with me he gets to go through the Pre line. I can't figure out the rhyme or reason for what they do at TSA. And security for AA in Madrid was a nightmare on this trip. We had to go through an additional screening for that which took forever. They asked the same inane questions about who packed your luggage, etc., did you have any banned items in your carryon or checked baggage (all of which we could have lied about so why ask?) then ran a check of your passport id to see if you were on the watch list I presume. Nuts and so not effective for catching the crazies who might want to kill us.

Posted by
1669 posts

The system is in place at SFO but has no benefits at all as far as we could tell. After completing the automated process, everyone then proceeds to get into the regular line and WAIT and WAIT and WAIT. There were two agents handling the process, then one left. We stood in line for about 30 minutes - an improvement over the 2012 trip when the wait was well over an hour.

Posted by
9363 posts

Chicago O'Hare had them in 2013. I believe they were the first in the US to try out the system.

Posted by
2580 posts

We have Global Entry so were able to use the kiosks at O'Hare last fall coming back from CDG. That went very fast, then we got our bags and waited in the long line to exit baggage claim. When we got to the agent they sneered and said you know you didn't have to wait in that line. Well NO we didn't know or else we wouldn't have. Maybe put up a sign?

Posted by
5784 posts

Same entering SFO. See:

http://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/automated-passport-control-apc

Automated Passport Control (APC) is a U.S. Customs and Border
Protection (CBP) program that expedites the entry process for U.S.,
Canadian and eligible Visa Waiver Program international travelers by
providing an automated process through CBP’s Primary Inspection area.
Travelers use self-service kiosks to submit their Customs declaration
form and biographic information. APC is a free service, does not
require pre-registration or membership, and maintains the highest
levels of protection when it comes to the handling of personal data or
information. Travelers using APC experience shorter wait times, less
congestion, and faster processing.

Posted by
12882 posts

"...experience shorter wait times...." That's relative and inaccurate as regards to SFO when I came back on 10 June in the afternoon.

Posted by
7205 posts

Then there's the Mobile Pass App for your phone where you fill in all the information, take your own photo, submit it via a button and a barcode is returned to you so that you can (supposedly) go through the quicker short line "app" line at customs. I plan on attempting to use it in a couple of weeks.