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

By David Flynn, April 23 2019
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

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 129

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!

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 77

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!

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 147

Yes but you get a priority bag waiting position ! 😂.

jch
jch

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Nov 2017

Total posts 57

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Nov 2016

Total posts 26

Just in time for my flight this Thursday!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Nov 2016

Total posts 26

From June 2019............

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 100

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2017

Total posts 9

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


Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 275

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.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2374

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!

18 Nov 2015

Total posts 119

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Aug 2014

Total posts 27

sounds excellent,

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

29 Jan 2015

Total posts 27

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.

23 Mar 2016

Total posts 4

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.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

25 May 2013

Total posts 8

Available at BHX also?

VIRGIN VELOCITY

03 Dec 2013

Total posts 7

hooray - going in June with just carry on so should be great

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

03 Apr 2019

Total posts 1

Wish it was May 1, I arrive next on May 15, miss out by two weeks!

Etihad - Etihad Guest

19 Apr 2019

Total posts 2

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.

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 297

Is there an age restriction on this? Namely will my 13 year old daughter be able to utilise it when travelling with us?

29 Jan 2015

Total posts 27

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.

24 Apr 2019

Total posts 1

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!

24 Apr 2018

Total posts 1

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

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

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

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 189

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

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Nov 2013

Total posts 15

The immigration staff at Gare du Nord are English, not French.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

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.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

20 Jan 2018

Total posts 37

They learned that from the English

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2015

Total posts 24

About time! Won't go through Southampton EVER again!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 78

Welcome this news. Really wish LAX would do the same.!!!

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 32

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.

29 Jan 2015

Total posts 27

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.

GJP
GJP

QF

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 5

How many US airlines have 380s?

19 Aug 2017

Total posts 8

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.

29 Jan 2015

Total posts 27

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

05 Nov 2018

Total posts 1

Does anyone know when Australian incoming passenger cards are due to be abolished?

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

07 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

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.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

20 Jan 2018

Total posts 37

And so they should be! Imported pests and diseases can wreak havoc on our agricultural industries and natural heritage.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

26 Apr 2019

Total posts 1

Available at BHX also?

GJP
GJP

QF

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 5

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!


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