LONDON: Eligible travellers from seven non-EU countries can now use ePassport gates to enter the UK in changes being made to the border from today.
Visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States will be able to use ePassport gates at ports across the UK.
There were over ten million arrivals in the UK by nationals from these countries in 2017.
Home secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our new global immigration and border system will improve security and fluidity for passengers coming to visit or work in the UK.
“Expanding the use of ePassport gates is a key part of this and allows us to improve the passenger experience of those arriving in the UK while keeping our border secure.”
Chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, Karen Dee, said: “As airports prepare for the busy summer months, we know that no one likes to wait long in a queue for passport control.
“That is why airports work closely with Border Force to ensure the border is welcoming, while maintaining the UK’s security.
“Enabling more passengers to use ePassport gates is an important next step in our joint efforts to enhance the welcome at the border.
“It will demonstrate the UK is open for business, tourism and visiting friends and relatives. It will also free up Border Force officers for other duties, improving the experience of all passengers.”
Additionally, the government is removing the need for all non-EEA travellers to fill in landing cards upon arrival in the UK, making for a smoother entry to the country.
The move will reduce the burden on passengers while maintaining the UK’s border security, as exactly the same security checks will be in place.