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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 are ePassport gates?

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.

Fully-enrolled members of the Registered Traveller Service (who hold a biometric passport) can use the ePassport gates.

How to use the ePassport gates

As you approach the ePassport gate you should remove your passport from any cover and open it to the picture page, place it face down on the scanner so it can scan the picture and read the key information. This could take a few seconds.

You should remove anything that could obscure your face and make it difficult to compare you with your passport photograph like some types of glasses, hats or scarves.

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
  • stand still until the green light shows it has captured the image

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.

If for any reason you are not allowed to go through the ePassport gates, a host member will direct you to a nearby Border Force officer who will be able to process your arrival.

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
  • Heathrow, terminals 1, 3, 4, and 5  
  • Luton
  • Manchester, terminals 1 and 2
  • Stansted

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