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Cancun’s New Electronic Immigration System Officially Launches To Speed Up Wait Times

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Cancun’s new electronic immigration system has now officially launched, with wait time for inbound travelers expected to decrease considerably from here on out as a result. Whether arriving via short hop from other countries in North America or a long journey across the ocean, the last thing travelers want when arriving at their destination is a long wait in the immigration queue that holds up the start of their vacation. Now, with the electronic immigration system in place at Cancun International Airport, long waits may just be a thing of the past. 

Cancun's New Electronic Immigration System Officially Launches To Speed Up Wait Times

With record numbers of passengers flying into Cancun over the past few weeks and this high season shaping up to be the busiest on record, the adoption of an electronic immigration system to streamline the arrival process couldn’t have come at a better time for travelers. Here’s everything we know about this exciting change to how travelers will start off their Cancun vacation, including how the system’s trial run fared since it launched earlier this year. 

scan boarding pass airport

Electronic Immigration System Officially Launches – Information For Travelers 

Travel to Cancun during its high season months is perfect for those looking to soak up the sun, but it often led travelers to suffer immigration queues for hours, delaying the start of their vacations and more often than not souring the vibe. Thankfully however, such queues are set to be a thing of the past now that Cancun International Airport has officially adopted the use of an electronic immigration system, making entering the country a much more efficient and easy process than ever before. 

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Travelers Waiting for Flights at Cancun Airport. One woman is in the background looking out the window, while others are sitting and waiting.

Those who had visited Cancun over the past few years may recall the presence of digital immigration machines that stood idle in the airport. According to Mexican law, the use of digital machines to process immigration is prohibited, with passengers forced instead to manually process immigration forms which left many scrambling for pens and frantically looking up the relevant information. However, thanks to a successful trial period, the use of digital immigration machines has now been officially adopted by the airport. 

digital immigration machines airport

Back in October, the use of the machines was permitted for travelers from the US and Canada. Preliminary findings showed that they significantly reduced wait times and congestion at the airport, streamlining the whole process and making the dreaded immigration check-in a relative walk in the park. Coupled with the country removing the requirement to fill in an FMM card upon arrival, entry into Cancun has never been easier or quicker for travelers.  

Female traveler checks in at the airport

With the new digital immigration machines, the processing of information can be completed in as little as 30 seconds. Passengers are required to scan their passports and boarding pass with the machines, before moving forwards to submit biometric data. Once all of the information has been collected, passenger records are then checked alongside an international database, after which they can proceed forward and be granted access to the country – presuming all is well with the checks. 

Busy Cancun International Airport filled with travelers and their luggage.

The official adoption of electronic immigration machines comes at the perfect time, as travel to the city is ramping up to new heights. New arrivals records are being posted on an almost weekly basis, with even more records expected to come in the coming weeks as Cancun solidifies its place as the world’s most in-demand travel destinations. 

Outside Cancun airport

The use of such machines is set to be limited to US and Canadian visitors for now, with these two countries providing more travelers to Cancun than any other. However, that doesn’t mean that these two are the only countries that will benefit from quicker entries through Mexican immigration. The airport recently hired more than 100 officials in a bid to speed up the immigration process for all arrivals, and with little in the way of complaints despite record traffic, it seems to be having a positive effect. 

cancun skyline

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Valerie Bryce

Wednesday 4th of January 2023

The electronic immigration machines were nowhere in sight on the evening of December 31st. Arriving about 7:30 pm on a Flair airline directly from Ottawa, Canada the immigration area was jammed with people. We were in line for about 1.5 hrs thereby missing on the taxi that had been booked and paid for. Getting a Shuttle taxi took more time and money. The taxi system is also a mess. I won’t be coming to Cancun again until I learn that the arrival process has been improved.