UK authorities have expanded the use of ePassport gates by passengers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the US, allowing them to skip long immigration queues at airports.
The introduction of ePassport gates by the British High Commission across the UK is aimed at accelerating border controls for low-risk countries.
The move comes after Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in March this year that nationals from these seven countries would be able to use ePassport gates from June.
In 2017, there were more than ten million arrivals in the UK by nationals from these countries.
Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee said: “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.
“Enabling more passengers to use ePassport gates is an important next step in our joint efforts to enhance the welcome at the border.
“It will demonstrate the UK is open for business, tourism and visiting friends and relatives. It will also free up Border Force officers for other duties, improving the experience of all passengers.”
Using facial recognition technology, the ePassport gates will compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in their passport, which will be monitored by Border Force officers.
Those rejected at the self-use terminals will be sent to a manned passport check to have their identity and passport checked.
Passengers aged 18 and above travelling using a biometric or ‘chipped’ passport can use the gates. Passengers aged 12 to 17 can also use them, providing they are accompanied by an adult.
British and EU nationals have had access to ePassport gates since 2008 and the latter will remain eligible to use them once the UK leaves the EU.