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Australians can use ePassports to enter the United Kingdom

Australians can use ePassports to enter the United Kingdom

No forms, landing cards gone – just swipe, look, walk through!

As from 21 May, no immigration forms to fill in, just use your ePassport at the ePassport gates at all UK airports. No more queuing or remembering the address of where you’re staying in London, where you have just come from, and how long you are staying!

‘Australia 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.’

World News Story, gov.uk

If you hold an ePassport from any of the following countries – then you too can breeze through:

  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • USA

Unlike Brexit – we go this early!

This improvement was promised for June, but has happened a few weeks early.

What do you need?

Nothing other than an ePassport – so it has to have that little rectangle with a circle on it (see image at the head of the story). Oh, and you need to be 12yoa or older.

The scanner uses facial recognition, and is monitored, so if there is a problem, you will be called out to see an actual ‘Border Force’ officer.

So you can ditch that Registered Traveller scheme, and cry into your beer about the money you spent on it.

What I used to do

I’m sure you are all familiar with the snaking queues at Heathrow. On the advice of an UK immigration offical, we used to go to the ‘Special’ queue, even though as business class passengers we usually had an ‘express’ pass.

My partner uses a UK passport to enter the UK, and I have to use a plain old Australian passport – but – when travelling as a couple – UK immigration advice is that you should go though immigration together – hence the ‘special’ queue which is reserved for annomolies.

There is usually no queue, and the staff are usually the best – used to dealing with issues.

What will we do now?

We are husband and husband now, but will still be travelling on different countries’ passports. Maybe they won’t have ‘UK Passport holders’, and ‘Other’ any more, and just ePassport gates, so the difference in our passport issuers won’t matter? Otherwise, we may end up at the ‘Special’ queue anyway.

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