Destinations

UK announces big change for Aussie travellers

Eligible travellers from Australia can now use ePassport gates to enter the UK quickly and securely.

Australia nationals aged 18 and over, and who are travelling using a biometric or ‘chipped’ passport, will be able to use the automated e-passport gates. Visitors aged 12 to 17-years-old, and who are accompanied by an adult, are also able to use them.

The UK is already a world leader in automated passenger clearance, allowing more nationalities to use ePassport gates than anywhere else.

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 passenger experience arriving in the UK while keeping our border secure.

“I’m delighted that Australian nationals will benefit from their use and have a smooth beginning to their visit to our country.”

The UK government is also removing the need for travellers from Australia and all other non-EEA countries to fill in landing cards upon arrival in the UK, making for a smoother entry to the country.

Non-EEA passengers are currently required to complete a landing card and present it to an immigration officer.

There were 1.4 million arrivals in the UK of Australian nationals in 2017.

ePassport gates use facial recognition technology to compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in the passport.

They are monitored by UK Border Force officers, and anyone rejected at the gates will be sent to a manned channel to have their identity and passport checked.

In the year ending September 2018, 51.9 million passengers used them across the UK and juxtaposed controls.

The expansion of ePassport gates is part of the UK’s vision of a new global border and immigration system that makes better use of data and technology to improve security and fluidity across the border.

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