The UK Government has expanded its use of ePassport gates at airports and rail terminals to seven more countries.
Eligible travellers from 7 non-EU countries can now use ePassport gates to enter the UK quickly and securely in changes being made to the border.
Visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States will be able to use ePassport gates at ports across the UK and juxtaposed controls in a move designed to speed up border controls for low-risk countries.
There were over 10 million arrivals in the UK by nationals from these countries in 2017.
“Our new global immigration and border system will improve security and fluidity for passengers coming to visit or work in the UK,” said Home Secretary Sajid Javid. “Expanding the use of ePassport gates is a key part of this and allows us to improve the passenger experience of those arriving in the UK while keeping our border secure.
“The new system will help to drive our economy, cement our reputation as a global leader and send a clear message to the world – the UK is open for business.”
EPassport gates have been available to British and EU nationals since 2008. EU nationals will remain eligible to use them once the UK leaves the EU.
The gates use facial recognition technology to compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in their passport. They are monitored by Border Force officers and anyone rejected at the gates will be sent to a manned passport check to have their identity and passport checked.
The gates can be used by those aged 18 and over, and who are travelling using a biometric or ‘chipped’ passport. Those aged 12 to 17, and who are accompanied by an adult, are also able to use them.
There are currently 264 ePassport gates in operation at 15 air and rail terminals in the UK and juxtaposed controls.
Additionally, the Government is removing the need for all non-EEA travellers to fill in landing cards upon arrival in the UK, making for a smoother entry to the country.
The move will reduce the burden on passengers while maintaining the UK’s border security, as exactly the same security checks will be in place.
Article published 21st May 2019