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UK Border Controls at Heathrow Airport UK Border Controls at Heathrow Airport, where e-Passport gates are available. Photo ©Jim Larrison

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US Citizens Set for Quicker UK Entry from Today
Americans are allowed to use UK e-Passport Gates from May 20

Published on May 20, 2019

From today (May 20), US Citizens traveling to the UK will be able to use ePassport Gates at select UK airports and rail terminals, in a move which is aimed at significantly reducing the time it takes to pass through UK border controls.

It had been announced that US Citizens would be eligible to use ePassport Gates in the UK from June 2019, but in a statement issued by the Home Office this morning, it was confirmed that US Citizens, alongside visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea, would be able to use the ePassport gates from today, at 15 air and rail terminals across the UK.

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, explained that "Our new global immigration and border system will improve security and fluidity for passengers coming to visit or work in the UK. ... Expanding the use of ePassport gates is a key part of this and allows us to improve the passenger experience of those arriving in the UK while keeping our border secure ... The new system will help to drive our economy, cement our reputation as a global leader and send a clear message to the world – the UK is open for business."

The Home Office also confirmed plans to remove a requirement for non-EEA travelers to fill in landing cards.

The ePassport Gates can be used by US Citizens who are aged 18 or over, as well as 12 to 17 year olds who are being accompanied by an adult. Travelers must also have a biometric, or 'chipped', passport. To use the ePassport Gates, you'll need to have a US ePassport which contains an electronic chip. If you don't currently have one, you can find out more details on US electronic passports, which are now issued to all passport applicants, via the Department of State Travel website.

The Home Office has also updated its UK Government Advice page to include details on the ePassport Gates. For more information on eligibility, go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/coming-to-the-uk/faster-travel-through-the-uk-border.

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