ePassport gates

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ePassport gates in Heathrow Airport (Terminal 4)
ePassport gates in Heathrow Airport (Terminal 5)

ePassport gates are automated self-service barriers operated by the UK Border Force and located at immigration checkpoints in arrival halls in some airports across the United Kingdom, offering an alternative to using desks staffed by immigration officers. The gates use facial recognition technology to verify the user's identity against the data stored in the chip in their biometric passport.


At present, British citizens, European Economic Area citizens and citizens of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States who are enrolled in the Registered Traveller Service,[1] can use ePassport gates, provided that they are aged either 18 and over or 12 and over travelling with an adult and holding valid biometric passports.

At present, European Economic Area and Swiss citizens cannot use national identity cards (regardless of whether they are biometric) at ePassport gates and have to use the staffed desks instead.

How does it work[edit]

To use the ePassport gates, you must have a ‘chipped’ biometric UK, EU, EEA or Swiss passport. These ePassports have the biometric logo on the front cover. The ePassport gate reads all the information contained in the chip inside the passport, while an officer at a control station behind the gates checks that the image captured by the camera matches the one on the passport (facial recognition).


At present, ePassport gates are available at the following locations:

Heathrow Airport Terminal 1 became obsolete on 29 June 2015.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]