UK to trial smart e-gates so arrivals don’t have to show passport

By Lisa James
02/01/2024
Home » UK to trial smart e-gates so arrivals don’t have to show passport

New trials that mean passengers entering the UK won’t need to show their passports will begin this year.

The Times reports that new e-gates will be installed at airports that are capable of allowing arrivals into the country using only advanced facial recognition.

Border Force Director-General Phil Douglas told The Times the technology would create an ‘intelligent border’ that used ‘much more frictionless facial recognition than we currently do’.

Trials are expected to start in 2024.

The Times said there are more than 270 e-gates at 15 air and rail ports in the UK that will need replacing with the new technology.

The Director-General believes the use of legacy passport desks will largely ‘fall away’ in the next two to three years, because of the new technology and the ability to ‘target’ people of interest, the Times said.

Dubai allows facial recognition for 50 nationalities, while the Director-General said he had been impressed by next-generation e-gates on a trip to Australia.

He told the Times: “I had to apply for an electronic travel authorisation in advance and used my smartphone to read the chip in my passport. That sent the image of me in the chip to the Australian authorities. When I arrived in Australia, I didn’t even have to get my passport out of my bag. It is a really interesting concept.”

The planned new e-gates are in addition to the current roll out of electronic travel authorisation (ETA) for foreign arrivals into the UK who do not need a visa.

The scheme is already in force for Qataris and will extend to nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Jordan in February.

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