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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 Force 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 passport reader and camera, rather than a border officer, will verify your identity and 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 successfully, 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, EU, EEA or Swiss passport. These ePassports 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

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

Remove your passport from any cover and open it to the biographic and picture page. This may be in the front or back of the passport.

There are two types of ePassport gates currently operating in the UK:

Passport reader outside the gate

Where the passport reader is positioned outside of the gate you should:

  • open your ePassport to the biographic and picture page
  • place it face down on the reader so it can scan the picture and read the key information; and
  • hold it down in place until instructed to remove it (this could take a few seconds)

Once the reader has accepted your passport successfully, you should:

  • remove your passport
  • step forward into the gates and place your feet on the markings on the floor
  • look straight at the camera directly in front of you
  • stand still until the green light shows it has captured the image; and
  • exit the gate when instructed to do so

Passport reader within the gate

Where the passport reader is within the eGate, you should:

  • enter the gate when it is available (a green arrow is displayed)
  • open your ePassport to the biographic and picture page
  • place it face down on the reader so it can scan the picture and read the key information (holding it down in place)
  • look straight at the camera directly in front of you
  • stand still until the green light shows it has captured your image successfully
  • remove you passport when instructed (this could take a few seconds); and
  • exit the gate

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

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