ePassport gates are automated self-service barriers (an automated border control system) operated by the United Kingdom's Border Force and located at immigration checkpoints in arrival halls in some airports across the UK and in international railway terminals abroad, offering an alternative to using desks staffed by immigration officers. The gates use facial recognition technology to verify the traveller's identity against the data stored in the chip in their biometric passport, as well as run the data against numerous databases to determine if the traveller is a security risk.
British citizens, European Economic Area and Swiss citizens who are aged 12 or over and holding biometric passports are eligible to use the ePassport gates. ePassport gates are usually marked with this symbol (). If the holder's nationality is shown as a British overseas territories citizen; a British overseas citizen; a British subject; a British national (overseas); or a British protected person then the holder will not be able to use the ePassport gates.
On 22 May 2019,[update] citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States holding valid biometric passports became eligible to use ePassport gates, provided that they are aged either 18 and over or 12 and over travelling with an adult.
Travellers using passports from Hong Kong and Taiwan who are enrolled in the Registered Traveller Service 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.
The ePassport gates do not accept national identity cards.
To use the ePassport gates, the traveller must have a biometric passport from the United Kingdom and certain other countries (these ePassports have the biometric logo on the front cover). The ePassport gate scanner reads all the information contained in the chip inside the passport, while a camera takes a picture of the traveller and 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). Once the data verification and facial recognition process is complete, doors will automatically either open, signifying that the traveller is permitted to enter and/or exit the country, or remain closed and a stop icon illuminate, demonstrating that the traveller has failed the security checks and will personally meet with immigration officials.
At present, ePassport gates are available at the following locations:
- Birmingham Airport
- Bristol Airport
- Cardiff Airport
- East Midlands Airport
- Edinburgh Airport
- Eurostar Brussels-Zuid Terminal
- Eurostar Paris Nord Terminal
- Gatwick Airport (North and South Terminals)
- Glasgow Airport
- Hamburg Airport
- Heathrow Airport (Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5)
- London City Airport
- Luton Airport
- Manchester Airport (Terminals 1, 2 and 3)
- Newcastle Airport
- Stansted Airport
- Iris Recognition Immigration System (another type of automated self-service barriers formerly used by the Border Force at Heathrow Airport (Terminals 3 and 5))
- SmartGate - a similar system operated in Australia and New Zealand
- Parafe - a similar system operated in France
- Automated Border Control systems
- gov.uk: Use ePassport gates for fast entry into the UK
- US Automated Passport control[permanent dead link]
- "Offering faster entry to the UK". UK Government. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
The Registered Traveller service is no longer accepting new membership applications from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and United States. Why is Registered Traveller changing? Passport holders from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States and also from Singapore and South Korea no longer need to be Registered Traveller members to use ePassport gates when entering the UK. Therefore we are no longer accepting new membership applications from those countries.
- "Home Office delivery ofBrexit: immigration - Home Affairs Committee - House of Commons". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 14 February 2018.