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Los Cabos Aims To Streamline Immigration Process To Under 30 Seconds

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As one of the leading tourist destinations South of the border and the fastest-growing coastal destination in Mexico, Los Cabos has been grappling with considerable delays at the border and other immigration-related concerns for months now.

Attempting to distance themselves from their counterparts – Cancun International is one example of a Mexican airport lacking critical infrastructure – airport authorities in the city are now aiming to fast-track screening further and processing passengers in less than 30 seconds.

Smiling African American Couple Holding Up Their Passports After Landing At An International Airport, Unspecified Location

Now that the Mexican Pacific Coast is trending among sunseekers and tourism is expected to reach record levels, this sounds like quite an impossible feat, but this is how they will do it:

Los Cabos Will Aim To Make Immigration As Smooth As Possible For Americans

Traveling abroad, one of the main sources of anxiety for tourists is undergoing immigration.

Whether it's the prospect of being questioned by a border agent or being stuck in a line for hours until it's your time to get screened, landing in a new international airport is not always a smooth process.

A Woman Looking Sad Or Bored At The Airport As She Waits For A Flight, International Travel

As Mexico's second busiest beach destination, second only to Cancun – at least for now – Los Cabos is aiming to make immigration a less stressful experience.

Manual Salvador Cordero Esparza, the head of Mexico's National Institute of Migration, responsible for overseeing border movements, recently announced that Los Cabos International (IATA code SJD) will reduce wait times at the international gates to merely ‘seconds'.

This follows numerous complaints of customers who were bewildered at how long border officers were taking to screen each individual passenger.

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people in line at airport

At peak hours, one could expect to stand in line for several long minutes and up to an hour until the lines started moving faster.

Unsurprisingly, this has negatively impacted the customer experience, considering being made to wait indefinitely is the last thing vacationers expect when landing at their final destination.

In Esparza's words, they can now count on being processed in under 30 seconds, or even less, with 20 being the ultimate goal.

How Will Los Cabos Cut Down Waiting Times?

Airport Security Line

With that being said, Esparza has not detailed specifically how this ambitious initiative will materialize, taking into account the increase in passenger numbers and the widespread popularity Los Cabos currently enjoys as an alternative destination to jam-packed Cancun.

Fortunately, steps have already been taken to ensure the path is laid for a seamless border in the future, and a lot of that has to do with cutting-edge technology that's being brought in.

Earlier this year, the airport revealed it would be launching its own eGate system, following in the steps of Cancun and numerous other hubs internationally.

Traveler Using An EGate At An International Passport

Once implemented, eligible travelers will be allowed to simply scan their way into Cabo and avoid the snaking lines at customs.

In Cancun, the novelty has proven a success story, with very few reports of excessively long waiting making headlines since eGates became operational. Los Cabos will be no exception.

In order to use an eGate, a traveler must be eligible, meaning they must come from an authorized, low-risk country, such as the United States and Canada, and carry a chip-enabled passport.

This is the standard travel document issued to all U.S. and Canadian citizens right now.

us passport airport

Arriving at Cabo, instead of following the arrows leading to the immigration booths, they will be directed instead to the electronic entry gate, where they will be instructed to place their passport on the reader and face the camera, one at a time.

Should there be no red flags, the gate will open, and they will be unceremoniously crossing the Mexican border without the need to speak first to an immigration officer and present the usual tourist documentation, such as valid accommodation and return tickets.

Will eGates Replace Current Staff-Assisted Controls?

While there have been no official reports on the impact of eGate implementation in Cabo and whether it will indeed cut individual wait times to less than 30 seconds, as authorities have promised, there's no denying eGates have been revolutionizing international travel.

In certain countries belonging to the European Union, they already replaced the former questioning Americans used to undergo ahead of being admitted into the bloc, which also means entry stamps are being phased out.

Long Line Of Passengers Waiting To Board A Plane At An International Airport, International Travel

Soon enough, especially after the EU launches its long-anticipated and long-delayed Entry-Exit System, American passport holders will no longer be stamped coming into the continent for control purposes. Their data will be stored digitally upon scanning their document at an eGate point instead.

The same applies to Mexico.

Previously, those seeking entry were required not only to be interviewed upon landing, but on top of that, they had to fill out an immigration form.

Travelers Scanning Their Passports At eGates For Automated Border Control, International Travel

Los Cabos International Airport formally removed the dreaded bureaucratic step in late 2022, giving further indication the airport is committed to its goal of simplifying border control as much as possible.

Other than eGates and the removal of the form, other actions could be undertaken by authorities to speed up crossings.

So far, an exact date for the implementation of Cabo's eGates has not been confirmed, though The Cabo Sun reassures visitors the process is currently ‘underway'.

As the leading source on anything Los Cabos has affirmed, ‘hopefully, within six to twelve months', the new technology will be put in place, ensuring guests have a streamlined experience when flying into the Mexican Capes.

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