Singaporean travellers to the United Kingdom will be able to enjoy faster clearance at the immigration checkpoints from the summer of 2019, after the UK Home Office added Singapore to its list of countries whose nationals are eligible to use its ePassport gates.
In a media statement released on Monday (3 December), the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that Singapore and South Korea have been added to the list, which consists of five other countries: The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
The ePassport gates, which are also available for British and EU nationals, allow eligible passengers to be processed quickly and securely, enabling faster immigration clearance. The gates use facial recognition technology to compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in their passport.
259 ePassport gates in operation
There are currently 259 ePassport gates in operation at 14 ports around the UK and juxtaposed control locations. The gates can be used by those aged 18 and over, and travelling using a biometric or “chipped” passport. Travellers aged 12 to 17 years old who are accompanied by an adult are also able to use them.
“The UK is absolutely open for business from the rest of the world and as part of that we are improving the experience for travellers coming into the UK,” said Javid in the statement.
Currently, only Singaporeans who are members of the UK’s Registered Traveller service are eligible to use these gates, also known as e-passport gates.
According to the UK’s national tourism agency, Singapore is ranked 33rd on its global ranking for inbound visits to the country, with its travellers making 229,000 trips to the UK last year.
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