Travellers eligible from seven non-EU countries can now enter the UK through ePassport gates. The new change will be in effect at the border. Citizens from Australia; Canada; Japan; New Zealand; Singapore; South Korea; and the United States will have access to ePassport gates at all ports in the UK.
Over 10 million people have visited the UK from these countries in 2017. Given these high numbers, access to ePassport gates will make the traveller experience more streamlined. Speaking about this recent development, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid said, “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.”
UK ePassport Gates and Improved Passenger Experience
ePassport gates function by using facial recognition technology that compares the passenger’s face to a digital image that is already recorded in their passport. This is monitored by Border Force Officers. They ensure that anyone rejected at the gates will be sent to another passport check to double-check their identity and passport.
Once the UK leaves the EU, EU nationals will continue to remain eligible to use the gates. EPassport gates first became available to British and EU nationals in 2008. Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association Karen Dee discussed this new development saying, “As airports prepare for the busy summer months, we know that no one likes to wait long in a queue for passport control. That is why airports work closely with Border Force to ensure the border is welcoming while maintaining the UK’s security.”
The official UK government website has also mentioned that all non-EEA travellers will not be required to fill in landing cards once they arrive in the country. This will ensure a smoother entry into the country. The burden on passengers will significantly reduce and also ensure that the UK’s border security remains intact; because security checks will remain in place.
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