Absurd UK e-Passport Rules

By rabbieb | Jan 17, 2018, 04:19 PM
It is absurd that Australians with e-Passports cannot use Smartgates in the UK unless they pay £70 to get a single year's Registered Traveller enrolement. And even after acceptance you still have to queue so an officer can tell you that you can use the gate. Is there maybe some problem with UK e-passports not working in Australia and this is payback?
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By Rufus1 | Jan 17, 2018, 06:09 PM
It's obscenely expensive and makes no sense that it only lasts for one year. But given the ridiculous queues you can encounter at LHR, sadly they can hold you to ransom.
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By traveller99 | Jan 17, 2018, 09:57 PM
It's definitely worth it. I'm doing lots of travel in and out of LHR, and I've never waited more than literally two minutes to get through. As you know the British like to queue and like to join the first available queue. So there might be 10 Smartgates open, and the first two or three have a queue, but if you walk up to gate 8, 9 or 10 there's no queue. The passport scan has always worked without fail and I'm through in literally two minutes max. What can take some time though is waiting for the luggage at the carousel. I've had it take up to 30 minutes in past.
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By ExLibris76 | Jan 17, 2018, 10:25 PM
Yes, it is absurd and expensive for what it is, but I'm gladly paying up just to use those e-gates and avoid face-to-face processing with U.K. immigration. My standard treatment on regular journeys to London seems to be passive/aggressive at best and (more usually) outright rudeness at worst. Every bit as bad as U.S. immigration (I.C.E.) and the T.S.A., in my experience! And many here would know just how appalling I.C.E. and T.S.A. can be.

As a Australian passport-holder; 40+ years old; an academic/businessman with no criminal record; who is conservative in dress and courteous in speech (most especially when travelling) it makes me shudder to think what people from the 'wrong' countries and 'wrong' skin colours, with limited English language skills must go through everyday at the U.K. border entry. So pay up and think of the annual e-gate fee as a personal investment in your own peace of mind. You won't regret it. I promise.
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By tommygun | Jan 18, 2018, 10:23 AM
...Every bit as bad as U.S. immigration (I.C.E.) and the T.S.A., in my experience! And many here would know just how appalling I.C.E. and T.S.A. can be...


Actually TSA has improved hugely in the past few years. I find them, mostly, quite courteous. DFW and MSP almost without exception. LAX maybe less so.
I.C.E. are courteous to U.S. citizens, they maybe need to build on that for visitors I'll admit.
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By elchriss0 | Jan 18, 2018, 12:51 PM
I find Melbourne to consistently have the rudest staff of all the airports i've traveled through
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By aggie57 | Jan 20, 2018, 07:35 PM
Yes, it is absurd and expensive for what it is, but I'm gladly paying up just to use those e-gates and avoid face-to-face processing with U.K. immigration. My standard treatment on regular journeys to London seems to be passive/aggressive at best and (more usually) outright rudeness at worst. Every bit as bad as U.S. immigration (I.C.E.) and the T.S.A., in my experience! And many here would know just how appalling I.C.E. and T.S.A. can be.

As a Australian passport-holder; 40+ years old; an academic/businessman with no criminal record; who is conservative in dress and courteous in speech (most especially when travelling) it makes me shudder to think what people from the 'wrong' countries and 'wrong' skin colours, with limited English language skills must go through everyday at the U.K. border entry. So pay up and think of the annual e-gate fee as a personal investment in your own peace of mind. You won't regret it. I promise.

Actually, ICE doesn’t do immigration control. That’s CBP. If you come into contact with ICE you’re into an enforcement process, not good!
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By Covvers | Jan 22, 2018, 08:12 PM

...it makes me shudder to think what people from the 'wrong' countries and 'wrong' skin colours, with limited English language skills must go through everyday at the U.K. border entry. So pay up and think of the annual e-gate fee as a personal investment in your own peace of mind. You won't regret it. I promise."


I appreciate the point which you are trying to make, but I really don't think it is appropriate to besmirch those people working as officers for the UK Border Agency or, indeed, the TSA or CBP as being racist or otherwise bigoted. It is, in my view, entirely unfair and unwarranted.


You might, in fact, notice that lot of those very staff come from ethnic minority groups themselves. So, I think your proposition falls at the first hurdle.


There can be no doubt that immigration officials, who are undoubtedly faced with a difficult and largely thankless job, are often stern, unfriendly or downright abrasive. However, I don't think we should go suggesting that they are motivated by racial prejudice. Sad.

Last edited by Covvers at Jan 22, 2018, 08.13 PM.
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