The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has announced that passengers of some countries will be allowed to use the e-passport gates, aimed at reducing wait times significantly.
Under the new scheme, which will come into force from June this year, travellers from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore and South Korea will be able to use e-passport gates at UK airports and Brussels and Paris Eurostar terminals.
In his Spring Statement, the Chancellor also announced that paper landing cards for non-European Economic Area (EEA) travellers would be dropped simultaneously.
However, all passengers landing at UK ports and airports will continue to undergo complete identity and security checks.
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said: “The expanded access to e-passport gates and the withdrawal of landing cards is part of our work to transform the UK’s border, providing a quicker, seamless experience for passengers that are built around digital systems.
“These changes will deliver an improved arrival experience and is further encouragement for people who boost our economy through tourism and business to travel to the UK.”
At present, the e-gates are only available for EEA citizens.
In December, the Home Office announced that passengers arriving from Singapore and South Korea would also be allowed to use e-passport gates.
In 2018, London’s Heathrow Airport urged the UK government to allow the use of e-gates by low-risk travellers.
After the government announcement, Heathrow said in a statement: “This is fantastic news for Heathrow passengers. A good border experience is a great way to show the UK is open for business and we encourage the Government to continue to prioritise it.”