The first time I arrived into England is an experience I will never forget. After the long 13 hour flight from Hong Kong with Qantas, I got off the plane at London Heathrow and walked to the UK border control area.
What greeted me was a line of epic proportions, stretching as far as the eye could see. It took me a full two hours to get to the head of the queue and stamped in, which was frustrating to say the least.
That was back in 2005, when seeing a grumpy border control officer was pretty normal. Since then, electronic Passports have become more common and nowadays there are e-Passport gates at many airports.
These allow you to have your Passport scanned, while a camera and a light shine on your face like a modern day Gestapo interrogation. Shortly after, a big green tick usually appears and off you go.
UK Border Control Opens e-Passport Gates To Seven Countries
In a pleasing move, UK border control have opened up the e-Passport gates to seven additional countries. EU citizens already have the right to use these, and the new countries are clearly friends of the UK.
People holding electronic passports from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States can now use the e-gates on arrival in the UK. Passengers must be 18 years or older to use the facility, while those aged 12-17 must be accompanied by an adult. If you’re travelling with children, you will still need to see a human.
Looks like the future is here, right? Electronic Passport gates are becoming more common at airports throughout the world. I’ve used them in Dublin, Amsterdam, London and Sydney in recent memory, with pretty seamless experiences in all cases.
At the time time as the e-Passport access, the UK border control people have also announced that landing cards are no longer required for the UK. That archaic piece of paper you had to fill out is now gone, which is very good news too.
What do you think of the electronic revolution in border control processing? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.