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Automated Passport Control Launches in Chicago

Release Date: 
August 14, 2013



CHICAGO –Officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announced today that a new program called Automated Passport Control (APC) is now available for passengers at O’Hare International Airport. APC is designed to help travelers move more quickly through the U.S. border clearance process by entering information at a self-service kiosk.

“Chicago O’Hare is the first airport in the U.S. to launch this innovative program that speeds up customs processing times for travelers arriving to the U.S. from abroad,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This technology strengthens Chicago’s leading position as a world-class destination for business and leisure travelers and makes O’Hare International Airport more competitive in the global aviation system.”

Automated Passport Control is now operating and can be used by all U.S. passport holders arriving at O’Hare’s International Terminal 5. APC is a free service and does not require pre-registration or membership. The CDA collaborated with CBP and its airline partners to install 32 APC kiosks.

Ensuring the safety and security of the traveling public is always going to be a priority at CBP, however we also realize the importance of facilitating a smooth and efficient entry process,” said CBP Deputy Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan.  “Automated Passport Control allows the best of both worlds by getting travelers through CBP processing faster without compromising our security mission.”

Automated Passport Control increases efficiency during CBP processing by transferring data collection duties to passengers who enter their information using a self-service kiosk. By removing the administrative responsibilities for a CBP officer to scan a traveler’s passport and verify their paper Customs declaration, the time spent with a CBP officer is greatly reduced. 

How APC works:

Passengers who are eligible (only U.S. passport holders at this time) can proceed directly to a self-service kiosk in the passport control area and no longer need to fill out a paper Customs declaration form. Travelers will be prompted to scan their passport, take a photograph using the kiosk and, answer a series of questions verifying biographic and flight information, as well as to fill out their Customs declaration using the touch screen on the kiosk. Once passengers have completed the series of questions, a receipt will be issued. Travelers then bring their passport and receipt to a CBP officer to finalize their inspection for entry into the U.S.  APC is easy to use and maintains the highest levels of protection when it comes to the handling of personal data or information. 

“I want to thank CBP and our airline partners for working with the CDA to bring this new technology and better customer experience to O’Hare,” said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. “Passengers arriving at O’Hare Terminal 5 will experience shorter wait times, less congestion, and faster processing because of this innovative program.”

QUOTE FROM AIRLINE REPS [OAMA or ITAPS]….Suggested text - By continuing to streamline the CBP process and provide a high quality visitor experience for the millions of international passengers and returning U.S. citizens, Chicago O’Hare will have the necessary resources in place to keep pace with the expected growth in international travel in the years to come.

“The APC program is another example of how the CDA is striving to create a ‘best in class’ experience for travelers at O’Hare International Airport,” said Andolino. “We are making Chicago a more attractive destination and O’Hare airport an industry leader by implementing innovative services, technology and sustainability initiatives, as well as raising the bar for dining and shopping with award winning restaurants and exciting new retail concepts.”

APC was developed by Vancouver Airport Authority and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Vancouver Airport Authority signed a Letter of Intent with the Chicago Department of Aviation to provide software technology and self-service kiosks to O’Hare International Airport.

With the addition of APC, O’Hare will now offer four CBP processing options for travelers.  The others are 1-Stop, for those entering the U.S. without checked luggage; Global Entry and the regular CBP lanes

About the Chicago Department of Aviation

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is self-supporting, using no local or state tax dollars for operations or capital improvements at O’Hare and Midway International airports. Together, Chicago’s airports generate more than $45 billion in annual economic activity and create 540,000 jobs for the region. Please visit to learn more about the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Last modified: 
January 4, 2022