Digital immigration machines had been set up at the Cancun airport for the better part of four years, however, the machines were actually never in use throughout that time period. It turns out that there was actually a law in place that essentially prohibited immigration checkpoints to be run digitally. They had to be staffed by actual immigration officers. On April 30th though, an amendment to the Mexican immigration law began taking effect, this amendment has legalized the use of technology to aid in immigration procedures.
The cancun airport in specific has been one of the Mexican airports that has had a more difficult time getting tourists through immigration. With tourists reporting that they had spent up to two hours in line at immigration upon arrival to Cancun. Over the peak season though, Mexican immigration officials did in fact send more officers to tend to immigration modules to speed up the entry process. Now that the process is effectively getting digitized tourists could potentially have their wait times at immigration cut down even further.
The Change In The Law Took Effect On The Last Day of April
On Thursday April 29th the amendment to the immigration law was published in “The official diary of the federation”. This is a publication where all Mexican laws have to be announced to be able to take actual effect. With the law being announced on the 29th this means that it took effect on the 30th. What does this really mean for travelers arriving in Cancun from then onward?
There’s a chance that you’ll be able to bypass immigration through the digital kiosk. Although, the way that these machines are really going to operate isn’t up to local authorities. The secretary of tourism Miguel Torruco Marques celebrated the amendment to the law that now allows the use of technology to patrol entry and exit points to the country.
He recognized that this is an issue that people in the tourism industry had been pushing for, for quite some time. In spite of this, the way that these kiosks are going to operate is very much up in the air. Torruco Marques mentioned that the decision to implement technology in the immigration process falls to the “Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores”. They have yet to provide clarity on how this digital system will work. It’s likely that the process will be very similar to what is seen across the world in other countries that use machines to speed up the flow of tourists at immigration checkpoints.
Only 3 Mexican Airports Currently Feature Immigration Machines
Although the amendment to the law was set in motion digital immigration kiosks have only been set up in 3 Mexican airports. The Mexico City airport, the Los Cabos airport, and the Cancun airport. The Cancun airport was recently named one of the top 10 airports across the globe with the most international traffic. With that in mind it would make a lot of sense to implement strategies to be able to reduce the wait times.
In Cancun hotels, and local tourism industry workers are hoping that a strategy can be set in place to use these kiosks for the summer vacation. Around those weeks the hotel occupancy in Cancun is set to be at around 90%. The tourism Secretary essentially mentioned that the ball is currently in Chancellor Marcelo Ebrard’s court saying,
“The strategy is in the hands of the SRE (led by Ebrad), we have no doubts about the sensitivity of immigration authorities to cater to these demands. I want to reiterate that these demands (digitizing the immigration process) have been in place for the better part of two decades.”
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