28 May 2019
Effective 20 May 2019, visitors to the United Kingdom from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States are now able to use ePassport gates at ports across the UK and at 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.
Background 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.
Juxtaposed controls are an arrangement between Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom whereby border control on certain cross-Channel routes take place before boarding the train or ferry, rather than upon arrival after disembarkation.