Australians visiting the UK are now eligible to use automated ePassport gates (e-gates) at 15 airports across the country. It’s not just the airports either. Australians will also be able to use the e-gates at Eurostar terminals.
The change came into effect on May 20. This was a bit of a surprise as it had been expected to become active in June.
Even better – there is no need to register in advance for the service. It is open to all Australians, and there is no longer a need to join the Registered Traveller program.
It’s also good news for citizens of New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Canada and the USA. Passport holders from those countries are also now able to use the e-gates.
It will be a welcome change for many travellers. In recent times, there have been reports of substantial delays entering the country through the normal immigration queues.
How do e-gates work?
ePassport gates use facial recognition to compare passengers with their passport photograph. Once a match is confirmed, the normal checks against Border Force systems and watchlists are conducted.
It doesn’t always work – sometimes the system is unable to provide a positive match. If this happens, the passenger is sent to an alternative manned channel. At this point, the Border Force officers monitoring the systems will process the incoming passenger.