The UK has announced Australians can use ePassport gates at British airports.
The UK has announced Australians can use ePassport gates at British airports.

Huge passport change for Aussies

Australians will now be able to skip notoriously long immigration queues at British airports after UK authorities gave the all clear for us to breeze through the ePassport gates.

The British High Commission has announced electronic passport gates are now available for Aussies carrying electronically enabled passports.

The self-use terminals, similar to the ones at Australian airports, significantly speed up the processing of arriving travellers by using facial recognition to match the traveller with the image printed in their passport, eliminating the need to come face-to-face with border officials.

Australians are now able to use ePassport gates, also known as SmartGates, at British airports. Picture: Elise Derwin
Australians are now able to use ePassport gates, also known as SmartGates, at British airports. Picture: Elise Derwin

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the change would offer Aussie travellers a more "smooth" arrival in the UK.

"Our new global immigration and border system will improve security and fluidity for passengers coming to visit or work in the UK," he said in a statement.

"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.

The ePassport gates will be available to Australia nationals aged 18 and over who use a biometric or chipped passport.
The ePassport gates will be available to Australia nationals aged 18 and over who use a biometric or chipped passport.

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

The change, which also applies to eligible New Zealand nationals, was prefaced in the UK Government's Budget announcement in November.

The British Government is also looking to scrap the need for Australians and other nationals to fill in landing cards on arrival, making the trip to the UK even breezier.

Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe, with more than 80 million passengers passing through last year.



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