Bureau of Immigration installs e-Gates at NAIA for arriving passengers

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A P328-million project

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday (July 19) inaugurated the newly-installed electronic gate system (e-Gate) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to shorten the long queues at immigration counters and expedite the processing of travellers.

BI officials said the P328-million project—dubbed the Fast Travel program—introduced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will simplify and efficiently improve the immigration clearing process at the airport.

“It also aims to provide the agency with efficiency and accuracy on pinpointing citizens who are in our watch list or persons of interest in immigration formalities,” said BI commissioner Jaime Morente.

He said the e-Gates will be used initially to cater to arriving passengers, adding that the new technology will also reduce human error in the process.

Marc Red Marinas, BI Port Operations Division (POD) chief, said the e-Gates will cut the processing time for a passenger to clear immigration.

Marinas said 21 e-Gates were initially installed in four international airports: NAIA Terminal 1 (five e-Gates), NAIA Terminal 3 (six e-Gates), Mactan-Cebu International Airport (five e-Gates), Clark International Airport (three e-Gates), and Davao International Airport (two e-Gates).

A traveller should have a machine-readable passport so that she could use an e-Gate, Marinas said.

To use an e-Gate, the passenger will be asked to place the data page of her passport on a flat screen on the gate for it to verify the passport’s authenticity.

The gate will then open and the passenger should step into the gate so that her biometrics could be checked. She will be asked to place her right forefinger on a finger print reader while a camera checks her facial features.

Once the passenger’s biometrics are confirmed, the passenger will be allowed to pass through. Marinas said the process should take less than 45 seconds.

But if the e-Gates finds a discrepancy, the traveller will have to go through a secondary inspection. Marinas said duty supervisors and secondary officers will be stationed nearby should an e-Gate’s red lights start blinking, indicating a problem.

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