The UK government has announced the expansion of the eGate service to include 10 and 11-year-olds. Following successful trials at major ports, including Gatwick, Stansted, and Heathrow Airports earlier this year. This expansion is set to commence on Monday, July 24, 2023, just in time for the school summer holidays. The move is expected to benefit thousands of families and eligible visitors. Over 400,000 children are projected to utilize eGates this year.
The eGate service allows passengers to experience a faster and more convenient way to navigate through the UK border. With passenger volumes expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this summer. The Border Force anticipates over 34 million air arrivals in the coming months, with some ports potentially exceeding their 2019 figures. In light of this, the government’s decision to expand the eGate service comes as a timely measure to enhance efficiency and reduce waiting times for travellers.
A recent YouGov poll revealed that 42% of the UK public plan to travel abroad over the summer. Highlighting the significance of streamlining the entry process during this peak travel season.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick expressed enthusiasm about the eGate expansion. Stating that families with children aged 10 and 11 will now experience quicker entry into the UK. This national rollout is not only aimed at making travel easier for passengers but also serves to reinforce the security of the UK border.
The UK has maintained its position as a global leader in the use of automation at border control. Processing more passengers through eGates than any other country in the world. Alongside increasing eGate capacity, the government is set to introduce an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme later this year. Moreover, continue expanding eVisas to further enhance the overall customer experience at the border.
The expansion of the eGate service will come into effect across 15 air and rail ports that currently have 293 eGates in operation. To ensure a seamless travel experience for all passengers. The Border Force is working closely with port operators and airlines.
As the summer holiday season approaches and international travel resumes, this development is expected to offer much-needed relief to families and visitors. While demonstrating the UK’s commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in border security and immigration procedures. With the eGate service in place, families can now look forward to a safer and hassle-free journey.