LONDON: Singaporeans travelling to the United Kingdom from mid-2019 will be able to use ePassport gates, the UK government said in a press release on Tuesday (Dec 4).
ePassport gates help speed up immigration times by allowing eligible passengers to be processed through an automated system. It is currently used by British and European Union travellers.
The proposal is expected to be implemented in the summer of 2019, and will include nationals from Singapore, South Korea, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
The UK government said this is a "demonstration of its commitment to develop a new global immigration system as the country leaves the European Union".
"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 Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
"I'm pleased to announce today that, in addition to the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, we will be allowing passengers from Singapore and South Korea to use ePassport gates when they travel into the UK – a transformational experience for the passengers involved."
An additional 6.5 million passengers a year are estimated to use ePassport gates to pass through the border.
There are 259 ePassport gates in operation at 14 ports around the UK. They can be used by passengers aged 18 and up who use a biometric passport. Passengers between ages 12 and 17 can also use the gates if accompanied by an adult.
Facial recognition technology is used to compare the passenger's face with their passport, and the system automatically checks passengers against watchlists. Anyone rejected by the gates will be sent to an alternative manned channel to have their passport checked.