Author: MNI Media | Date: 22 May 2019
Seven countries who can now use ePassport gates, giving easier and faster entry into the UK.
The expansion of the ePassport gate eligibility is set to significantly reduce lines and improve the flow of passengers as well as the overall experience at the UK border.
Visitors from the following countries will benefit: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States.
There were over 10 million arrivals in the UK by nationals from these countries in 2017.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid stated; "Our new global immigration and border system will improve security and fluidity for passengers coming to visit or work in the UK. 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."
In line with the ePassport gate expansion, which was previously only available to nationals from the UK and the EU, eligible nationals will be exempt from the landing card requirement, providing a faster route through the border. Additionally, the UK 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, they have stated, will reduce the burden on passengers while maintaining the UK’s border security, as exactly the same security checks will be in place.
The UK is already a world leader in automated passenger clearance, allowing more nationalities to use ePassport gates than anywhere else. In the year ending September 2018, 51.9 million passengers used them across the UK and juxtaposed controls.
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.