Honolulu’s airport to simplify international arrival procedures ahead of busy summer travel

By Alfred Acenas
EBC Hawaii-Pacific Bureau

HONOLULU (Eagle News) — Effective immediately, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection will implement the Simplified Arrival Program at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL).

This will eventually replace the Automated Passport Control kiosks that have been in place since 2016, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

Simplified Arrival uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks currently required for admission into the United States.


For travelers, it is a secure, touchless process, and it fulfills a Congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.

Unlike the automated kiosks that are fully funded and maintained by the state government, the Simplified Arrival program is paid for and maintained by Customs and Border Protection.

International travelers entering the U.S. through HNL now have the option to use either procedure to confirm their identity.

“Use of technology in the international arrival process continues to advance,” said transportation department director Jade Butay.  “HDOT is proud to partner with CBP to bring the latest in inspection point processing to Hawaii.”

Getting ready for more visitors

Moving to the new system now will help the airport to get ready for an increase in visitors says Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director for Airports.

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

According to officials, Simplified Arrival streamlines 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.  They claim this comparison takes seconds and is more than 98% accurate.

They also believe that the use of Simplified Arrival may eliminate the need for foreign travelers who have traveled to the United States in the past to provide fingerprints.

If a person 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.

The biometric facial comparison will only be used where travelers are already required to present an identity document for admission into the United States.

All travelers will still need to carry a passport for international travel regardless of participation in the biometric process.

Must meet Covid testing requirements

Additionally, all inbound international air passengers, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, must meet the most current federal Covid-19 testing requirements.

The requirements can be found at the following sites:



At present, international travelers arriving in the State of Hawaii from countries other than Japan, Canada, Korea, and Taiwan must quarantine for 10-days or the length of their stay.

By participating in the Safe Travels program, they can bypass the 10-day quarantine if they meet the requirements of the program as described on https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/

More information on Simplified Arrival can be found at https://biometrics.cbp.gov/.

(Eagle News Service)