UK Home Office to expand the use of ePassport gates to 7 more countries

The UK Home Office have announced today that from 20th of May 2019, they will permit visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States to use the ePassport gates at Ports in the UK. It is a welcoming news given to smooth the process of entering the UK.

The UK Government estimates that there were about 10 million people arriving to the UK in 2017. This demonstrates that making the entry to the UK easier and more smarter is good for business, making those low risk countries accessible to the UK.

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. The new system will help to drive our economy, cement our reputation as a global leader and send a clear message to the world – the UK is open for business.

Whilst the new system is going to be implemented, the new system will check and make sure that any person with poor immigration control or criminal history will be easily spotted and denied entry. The UK Home Office have also confirmed that all EEA nationals will have access to these systems once the UK departs from the EU.

Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association 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.

Interestingly, the UK Home Office will now consider removing the requirements of completing landing cards upon arrival and reduce administration burdens. Consideration will be given to a more computerised systems are in place.

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. The move will reduce the burden on passengers while maintaining the UK’s border security, as exactly the same security checks will be in place.

The UK is already a world leader in automated passenger clearance, allowing more nationalities to use ePassport gates than anywhere else. In the year ending September 2018, 51.9 million passengers used them across the UK.

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.

If you would like to take some advice related to entering the UK, contact our team on 0207 237 3388, option 1 or you can email us at info@icslegal.com.