HONOLULU (KHON2) — New technology has implemented changes for international travelers entering the U.S. through the Honolulu airport.

International travelers now have the option to biometrically confirm their identity as part of the inspection process.

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On Monday, May 3, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) announced that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is beginning the Simplified Arrival Program at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL).

Simplified Arrival systems, which is funded by CBP, will replace Automated Passport Control (APC) Kiosks at HNL that were activated in February 2016.

It uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks currently required for admission into the U.S. It also provides travelers with a secure, touchless travel experience, and fulfills a Congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.

Travelers may opt out and choose to have their identity confirmed manually.

“On average, we saw 7,000 international arrivals per day before the pandemic,” said Ross Higashi, DOT Deputy Director for Airports. “Now we’re getting about 300 per day. Making the improvements at the primary inspection area now will position us for efficient, streamlined service as travel recovery continues.”

Here’s how it works:

“Simplified Arrival works to streamline the international arrival process by comparing a photo taken by the system to high-quality images, such as passport and visa photos, that the traveler has provided to the government. This comparison takes seconds and is more than 98% accurate. Use of Simplified Arrival may also eliminate the need for foreign travelers who have traveled to the United States in the past to provide fingerprints. If a traveler cannot be matched to a photo on record using Simplified Arrival, the traveler will proceed through the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for entry into the United States.”

DOT says the biometric facial comparison is only when travelers are already required to present an identity document for admission into the U.S. A passport for international travel is still required.

All international air passengers coming to the U.S. must meet federal COVID-19 testing requirements as described here and here.

International travelers arriving in Hawaii from countries other than Japan, Canada, Korea, and Taiwan must quarantine for 10 days or the length of their stay. Travelers from Japan, Canada, Korea, and Taiwan may participate in the Safe Travels program to bypass quarantine.