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2 August 2022

UK to trial contactless border gates

The UK Government has announced plans to create a contactless and digital border to speed up journeys to the UK. 

The plans were set out by Home Secretary Priti Patel, and will form part of a wide-ranging overhaul of the UK Border.

The creation of the contactless border would allow passengers to enter the UK via automated border screening – which would negate the need for both an eGate and a physical Border Force officer. 

The security of the border will be monitored and maintained by the pre-screening of passengers who use the contactless gates. These passengers will then be identified at the border via new recognition technology.

Speaking of the plans, Ms Patel said:

“As Home Secretary I have been focused on taking back control of our immigration system through my New Plan for Immigration. This includes ensuring we have a border that is fit for the 21st century which allows travellers to get a visa and pass through the border easily, while maintaining national security.”

She added: “I am also committed to ensuring our fantastic Border Force are given access to the most up to date automation technologies so they can use their specialised skills on protecting our border from those who seek to harm the UK.

As well as reducing travel times for UK travellers, the new system is also aimed at improving security; the pre-screening of passengers will mean that UK Border Force will be able to understand more about the people who wish to travel to the UK, helping to improve security.  

In addition to these plans, the Home Secretary also announced plans to investigate the effectiveness of extending the minimum age of eGates from 12 to 10 years old – something aimed at reducing journey times for British families.

Contactless borders will begin a pilot scheme to test their effectiveness in 2024.

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