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    Saturday, December 16, 2017-7:30:11P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Partners unveil automated passport machines at Saipan airport

(MVA) — Local and federal partners came together on July 17, 2017 to unveil the first ever Automated Passport Control machines at the Francisco C. Asa/Saipan International Airport.

The Marianas Visitors Authority and Imperial Pacific International, which provided the funding for the machines, joined the Commonwealth Ports Authority, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the MVA China Ad Hoc Committee in the brief ribbon- cutting ceremony.

The machines are expected to ease immigration processing times and are available for use by U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, U.S. B1 and B2 visa holders, ESTA holders, and crew members, who should be able to complete their immigration processing using the machine in less than two minutes.

Local and federal partners unveil the first ever Automated Passport Control machines at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport on June 17, 2017.  From left, Commonwealth Ports Authority Director Chris Tenorio, China Ad Hoc Committee Chairman Tom Liu, U.S. Customs and Board Protection Port Director Robert Havens, Imperial Pacific International majority shareholder Margaret Cui Lijie,  IPI  vice president for  client services  Henan  Ma,  Marianas  Visitors  Authority  Managing  Director  Christopher  A. Concepcion, and CPA Board Vice Chairman Thomas Villagomez.  MVA photo

MVA provided funding for four of the machines, and in response to an appeal, IPI donated nearly $140,000 toward the purchase of three more machines.

“This is a great example of public and private sector partners coming together to solve problems facing our tourism industry,” said MVA Managing Director Christopher A. Concepcion. “We are optimistic that with these machines, and some other changes being implemented at the airport, arriving visitors will be able to move through immigration and begin their holiday quicker.”

“We hope these machines will help lessen the wait times, as well as increase efficiency during the immigration process,” said CPA Executive Director Chris Tenorio.   “I would like to extend my appreciation to the Marianas Visitors Authority and all of its sponsors for contributing the necessary resources to purchase the newly installed machines. Thank you, Customs and Border Protection, for working hand in hand with the CPA to ensure that we address and resolve these issues without jeopardizing the CNMI’s security and protection, and to the entire China Ad Hoc Committee for working diligently with federal and local agencies to help improve our airport facilities.”

It is anticipated that by the end of this year and once approved, the machines may also be available for use by individuals arriving under the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program.