UK opens e-gates, ditches landing cards for Australian passports

UK opens e-gates, ditches landing cards for Australian passports

The UK is adding Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the USA and Canada to the list of passports which can use its automated e-gates on arrival

Those are the same fast-track channels currently enjoyed by holders of UK and EU passports (and the broader European Economic Area), along with frequent visitors who have signed up for the paid Registered Traveller scheme.

However, as of June 2019, the e-gates will be flung open to far more travellers, which should mean a quick step through immigration instead of dawdling in queues at the manual checkpoints.

No special registration will be needed: just slide your ePassport (with an embedded smartchip) into the e-gate, step forward, smile for the camera and you'll be on your way.

You also won't need to fill out a UK landing card, those are also being abolished.

"The expanded access to ePassport gates and the withdrawal of landing cards is part of our work to transform the UK’s border, providing a quicker, seamless experience for passengers that is built around digital systems," said UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes.

The eGates can be used at all UK international airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh, along with the Paris and Brussels Eurostar terminals.

Also read: Fast-track your way through passport control in these eight countries

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

39 comments

  • rob01

    rob01

    23 Apr, 2019 10:47 am

    That's certianly good news but something will need to be done to speed up baggage delivery. No point getting through immigration quickly and then waiting half an hour for your bag!
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  • Vik Jay

    MarkivJ

    23 Apr, 2019 12:59 pm

    I was about to say that myself! I feel like a right old tit breezing through Fast Track whilst my fellow economy passengers are stuck in the queue, only to find all of us waiting by the carousel!
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  • Aidan

    Aidan

    23 Apr, 2019 02:29 pm

    Yes but you get a priority bag waiting position ! 😂.
    Member who gave thanks

    Deshi

  • John Harley

    jch

    23 Apr, 2019 08:30 pm

    Went through fast track last week and my bag was waiting on the carousel when I arrived. Was a late arriving flight so luckily was still able to get the tube into town.
    No member give thanks

  • Shingi Sa

    davidzuo

    23 Apr, 2019 01:55 pm

    Just in time for my flight this Thursday!
    No member give thanks

  • Shingi Sa

    davidzuo

    23 Apr, 2019 02:02 pm

    From June 2019............
    No member give thanks

  • Ross

    Ross

    23 Apr, 2019 05:01 pm

    About time although their T5 gates have a high fail rate, my UK passport has never worked in LHR T5 gates and there is always a looooong line for those whose passports have failed.
    No member give thanks

  • Craig Sandford

    Rezzadogs

    24 Apr, 2019 08:01 pm

    My UK passport doesn't work at any UK gate, and I get annoyed when directed to queue at the gates in the knowledge that I'm just going to have to queue again at a border control desk. Have developed a habit of flying into City Airport to encounter smaller queues. Fortunately it does work perfectly in Germany, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic.

    Might have to try using my Aussie passport instead :) Pity that it's not allowed when holding dual citizenship


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  • Phil Young

    Phil Young

    23 Apr, 2019 05:52 pm

    I've been using the LHR eGates since last year as an Australian passport holder but as a member of the Registered Traveller program. The British eGates are fantastic. Through in 30 secs, with no Landing cards, and not even a ticket required from a kiosk. Upon entering the Border Force area go to the UK/EU Passport holders area and head for any of the eGates.
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • David Flynn

    David

    23 Apr, 2019 08:21 pm

    Phil, I agree completely - I was a 'trial member' of the Registered Traveller scheme and it made those successive arrivals into London a breeze. Same deal as with 'e-visitor' access at Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai (all of which I hold), it's a wonderful feeling to step off the flight - especially without any checked luggage - and head straight for the gates the 'locals' use, be through like a shot and on my way!
    No member give thanks

  • traveller99

    traveller99

    26 Apr, 2019 08:03 am

    And in typical British fashion, people will queue on just a couple of the eGates, whilst others are open too. As you approach, make a note of open gates further down the line and just walk by people queuing up for the same eGate.
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  • ivanb52

    ivanb52

    23 Apr, 2019 07:08 pm

    sounds excellent,
    but are you supposed to "smile for the camera" or look grumpy and jet lagged just like my passport photo?
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  • h15t0r1an

    h15t0r1an

    27 Apr, 2019 04:24 am

    It's a person rather than a machine that lets you through when you put your passport on the gate even though it seems automatic. So I personally wouldn't look amazingly grumpy. Sometimes depending on how many of the gates are not working (typically 50%) I say very clearly into the camera why don't you fix the gates so many not working and hope the person can lip read.
    No member give thanks

  • RedBaron

    RedBaron

    24 Apr, 2019 10:07 am

    Anyone had any experience of being rejected at an eGate due to falling within a certain profile? As a regular traveller to see family in the UK on an Australian passport and being under 40 I fall within the vague 'Aussie looking to work illegally' profile and am usually scrutinised fairly heavily by HM Immigration and on occasion subject to a search.
    No member give thanks

  • David Bancell

    davidban69

    24 Apr, 2019 02:54 pm

    Available at BHX also?
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  • JOE HUMPHRIES

    JOE AND CAROL

    24 Apr, 2019 03:24 pm

    hooray - going in June with just carry on so should be great
    No member give thanks

  • Kevin Baker

    Eugene

    24 Apr, 2019 03:24 pm

    Wish it was May 1, I arrive next on May 15, miss out by two weeks!
    No member give thanks

  • Will

    wchiv

    24 Apr, 2019 03:33 pm

    Great news, David. In your opinion, does this render the paid Registered Traveller scheme moot? I have recently qualified but note that using the eGates was the main "perk" of the scheme.
    No member give thanks

  • 11sjw

    11sjw

    24 Apr, 2019 03:34 pm

    Is there an age restriction on this? Namely will my 13 year old daughter be able to utilise it when travelling with us?
    No member give thanks

  • h15t0r1an

    h15t0r1an

    27 Apr, 2019 04:25 am

    There is an age restriction. I can't remember if being over 12 is enough for children to be able to use the gates but for sure under 12 cannot use them and the family will have to queue up at the border control desks that have people not machines. A true hell if you hit a busy time.
    No member give thanks

  • Stebern

    Stebern

    24 Apr, 2019 04:03 pm

    Can’t come soon enough for me. Most recent visit to Manchester this year (UK low season) on the Emirates A380 arriving mid morning took 80 minutes to get through immigration - and we were in the “quick exit” economy cabin section. Utterly ridiculous, so about time!
    No member give thanks

  • Christopher Jones

    Csandbej

    24 Apr, 2019 05:39 pm

    I am arriving at LHR mid May so no eGate but do I still need a landing card . I am coming via copenhagen ?
    No member give thanks

  • Brian Williams

    evilbrian

    24 Apr, 2019 05:43 pm

    Hallelujah - what a relief it will be to breeze through those ridiculous queues at Gare Nord in Paris to get on Eurostar. The immigration staff there give US Immigration a run for their money in the non-friendly stakes
    No member give thanks

  • Tim Davies

    Boeing-Tragic

    25 Apr, 2019 11:06 am

    They're French, what do you expect (did you forget their trained from birth to look down on "the rest of us"). :-)
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  • smartyy

    smartyy

    26 Apr, 2019 09:29 am

    The immigration staff at Gare du Nord are English, not French.
    No member give thanks

  • Brian Williams

    evilbrian

    26 Apr, 2019 12:07 pm

    Yes, but it's the French officials you get to first who cause most of the bottleneck there before you get through to the British ones. If we're now going to get the same access as Euro/UK travellers we can just slide off to the left and avoid those guys completely.
    Member who gave thanks

    Boeing-Tragic

  • AfricaTraveller

    AfricaTraveller

    29 Apr, 2019 12:01 pm

    They learned that from the English
    No member give thanks

  • tony walker

    tonyw

    24 Apr, 2019 06:23 pm

    About time! Won't go through Southampton EVER again!!
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  • John Goss

    Travelwell

    24 Apr, 2019 06:27 pm

    Welcome this news. Really wish LAX would do the same.!!!
    No member give thanks

  • outthere1000

    outthere1000

    24 Apr, 2019 09:44 pm

    But is Heathrow going to instal more eGates to cope with the extra users? Or even make sure the ones that are there are turned on? I use T2 (Star Alliance airlines) regularly and there are often queues for the eGates because only 3–5 of the roughly 10–12 are switched on. Throw in A380s'-full of US passengers (US arrivals tend to be clustered into the same time slots) and Singapore passengers as well and the queue may finish up being almost as long as the "Others" queue - certainly the Fast Track line.
    No member give thanks

  • h15t0r1an

    h15t0r1an

    27 Apr, 2019 04:29 am

    Ah, but if you're British they won't let you go into the "Other" queue. No matter how short the "other" queue, and no matter how long the deepening queues and furhter queue back out to the landing gates is, for the 3 out of 20 machines you might find working on some days. (a bit of an exaggeration, but any more working than 50% and you've hit a good day/time). I got denied to use the "Other" queue at Gatwick in just these circumstances. Hope for your sakes they won't apply this kind of nonsense to Australians when they get access to the gates as well.
    No member give thanks

  • GJP

    GJP

    29 Apr, 2019 05:06 pm

    How many US airlines have 380s?
    No member give thanks

  • NSCUK

    NSCUK

    24 Apr, 2019 11:20 pm

    Well, Easter Friday at T3 LHR was chaotic. Even the e-gates, fast track took over an hour. Poor folks in the non-eu line were taking up to 3 hours to get through and the queue was way back to the gates!! They needed more staff on, and didn't cater for the Easter period at all. Fast track had one person on, and a good queue over over 200 people.
    No member give thanks

  • h15t0r1an

    h15t0r1an

    27 Apr, 2019 04:30 am

    I have often wondered if it's the immigration staff unions that are keeping so many of the machines not working when you arrive.
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  • Mrsfefe

    Mrsfefe

    25 Apr, 2019 11:49 am

    Does anyone know when Australian incoming passenger cards are due to be abolished?
    No member give thanks

  • Brian Williams

    evilbrian

    25 Apr, 2019 02:23 pm

    Highly unlikely in the forseeable future. Europe doesn't care about what fruit, vegetables, meat and nuts that passengers bring in, or whether or not you have some small to moderate criminal conviction, while the Australian authorities are obsessed with all those things and more.
    No member give thanks

  • AfricaTraveller

    AfricaTraveller

    29 Apr, 2019 12:07 pm

    And so they should be! Imported pests and diseases can wreak havoc on our agricultural industries and natural heritage.
    No member give thanks

  • kacak bahis

    kacakbahis

    26 Apr, 2019 05:44 pm

    Available at BHX also?
    No member give thanks

  • GJP

    GJP

    29 Apr, 2019 05:02 pm

    Can this start date be believed? This article adds nothing to what was reported in October last year. With the UK government either totally devoted to Brexit or being on holiday, I can't see this getting to the top of the 'To do' list for a while. My arrival on 4 July will still take 60 minutes in the Fast Track queue!
    No member give thanks

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22 May, 2019 05:10 pm

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