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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Using ePassport gates at airport border control

If you have a new biometric ‘chipped’ passport, you can use the automated ePassport gates instead of having your passport checked by a border officer. This means you can avoid the queues and get through passport control more quickly. Find out what the gates are and how to use them.

What the ePassport gates are

To help speed up your time at passport control, there are now ePassport gates at all major airports in the UK. ePassport gates are automated, where a scanner and camera, rather than a border officer, will check your ‘chipped’ passport.

The gates use facial recognition technology to compare your face to the photograph recorded on the ‘chip’ in your passport. Once the check is made, the gate opens automatically for you to walk through.

Who can use the ePassport gates?

To use the ePassport gates, you must have a ‘chipped’ biometric UK or EU passport. These passports have the biometric logo on the front cover. See ‘What are biometric passports?’ for more information about ‘chipped’ passports.

You don’t need to register your details anywhere before using the ePassport gates.

How to use the ePassport gates

To use the ePassport gate, you need to place your passport on the scanner with the photograph face down.

Once the scanner has accepted your passport, you should:

  • remove your passport
  • take a step forward towards the camera and place your feet on the markings on the floor
  • look straight at the camera

The camera will now match your face to the photograph held in the chip in your passport. Once it has found a match, the gate will open and you can exit.

There may be times when the gate rejects you. If this happens, you can go straight to a border officer who will check your passport manually.

Where you can find ePassport gates

You will find ePassport gates at these airports:

  • Birmingham, terminals 1 and 2
  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • East Midlands
  • Gatwick, north and south terminals
  • Luton
  • Manchester, terminals 1 and 2
  • Heathrow, terminals 1, 3, 4, and 5
  • Stansted

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Going through passport control with children

When travelling, the UK Border Agency may ask you questions if you are not the child’s parent or don't have the same last name as the child

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