In a move that’ll likely get Australians more excited than our inclusion in the Eurovision Song Contest, Aussie travellers will now be able to use Britain’s automated e-passport gates when entering the UK.
Promised late least year, the initiative sees Australian adults travelling with a chipped passport given expedited access to the UK, a process that had previously been reserved for travellers from the European Economic Area (EEA).
If they’re accompanied by an adult, visitors aged 12-17 years will also be able to use the e-gates.
“We want to provide a world-class experience for the millions of visitors who travel here every year and the new e-gate access for eligible travellers, including those from Australia, boosts our competitive tourism offer and our message of welcome, building on the growth we have seen and inspiring even more Aussie visitors to book a trip to Britain right now,” VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he was “delighted that Australian nationals will benefit from their use and have a smooth beginning to their visit to our country”.
“Our new global immigration and border system will improve security and fluidity for passengers coming to visit or work in the UK,” he remarked.
“Expanding the use of ePassport gates is a key part of this and allows us to improve passenger experience arriving in the UK while keeping our border secure.”
To make their arrival even smoother, the UK Government is also working on removing the need for Australian travellers to fill out landing cards when arriving in the country.
In the year ending September 2018, 51.9 million passengers entering the UK used automated gates, which use facial recognition technology.
Around 1.4 million Aussies travelled to Britain last year.
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