What are e-Passport Gates?
EPassport gates are automated self-service barriers. Eligible passengers with a biometric ‘chipped’ passport can use the automated ePassport gates as an alternative to using desks staffed by Border Force officers. This means passengers can avoid the queues and get through passport control much faster!
EPassport gates are operated by the United Kingdom's Border Force and located at immigration checkpoints in arrival halls in some airports across the UK.
The ePassport gates use facial recognition technology to verify a traveller's identity against the data stored in their biometric passport - the data is also run against numerous databases to determine whether each traveller is a security risk.
Who are eligible to use e-Passport Gates?
To use the ePassport gates, passengers will need a ‘chipped’ biometric UK, EU, EEA or Swiss passport. Passengers also need to be aged 12 or over.
From May 2019, citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States who hold valid biometric passports are also eligible to use ePassport gates, as long as they are aged either 18 and over or 12 and over travelling with an adult.
Travellers with a valid biometric ePassport from Hong Kong and Taiwan who have enrolled in the Registered Traveller Service Program are also able to use ePassport gates, as long as they are aged either 18 and over or 12 and over travelling with an adult and holding valid biometric passports.
How to use ePassport Gates
ePassport gates are automated and, instead of a border force officer, passengers are identified via a passport reader and camera, which checks the ‘chipped’ passport. Passengers will need to follow the signs to the ePassport gates and join the queue.
The gates use facial recognition technology to compare passenger’s faces with their photographs, and against the photograph and data stored on the passport ‘chip’. When the check is successfully, the gate opens automatically, allowing passengers to walk through.