Eligible travellers from Canada can now able to use ePassport gates to enter the UK, the UK Home Office has announced.
Canadian nationals aged 18 and over, and who are travelling using a biometric or "chipped" passport, will be able to use the automated e-passport gates.
Visitors aged 12 to 17-years-old, and who are accompanied by an adult, are also able to use them.
Some categories of travellers will still need to see an immigration officer rather than use an ePassport gate. These include children aged 11 and under and their accompanying adults, those without chipped passports, and a limited numbers of individuals coming for distinct migration purposes where they require specific grants of leave from an immigration officer
“Our new global immigration and border system will improve security and fluidity for passengers coming to visit or work in the UK,” Home Secretary of the UK Sajid Javid stated in a release. “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.
There were 1.3 million arrivals in the UK of Canadian nationals in 2017.
How does it work?
ePassport gates use facial recognition technology to compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in the passport.
They are monitored by UK Border Force officers and anyone rejected at the gates will be sent to a manned channel to have their identity and passport checked.
The Government is also removing the need for travellers from Canada and all other non-EEA countries to fill in landing cards upon arrival in the UK, making for a smoother entry to the country.
Non-EEA passengers are currently required to complete a landing card and present it to an immigration officer.
The expansion of ePassport gates is part of the UK’s vision of a new global border and immigration system that makes better use of data and technology to improve security and fluidity across the border.