Chancellor Philip Hammond has confirmed citizens from a host of new countries will be able to use e-gates at UK airports and at Eurostar terminals from June this year.
In his spring statement, Hammond confirmed citizens of the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea would be offered the new service.
The chancellor said it was part of an initiative to demonstrate the UK was “open for business” as it prepares to depart the European Union.
It is hoped the move will significantly reduce queues and improve the flow of passengers and the overall experience at the UK border.
However, others have warned it may increase queues for British passengers.
The chancellor also confirmed landing cards will also begin to be abolished from June.
This will reduce bureaucracy for travellers and speed up the processing of passengers on arrival in the UK, he said.
Responding to the decision, the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK welcomed the recommendations.
Dale Keller, chief executive of BAR UK, said: “Our 70 airline members will be delighted that landing cards are finally to abolished following a long-standing campaign to rid passengers and crew from the hassle of this outdated process.
“We also welcome confirmation of a June commencement to the extension of ePassport gates to the seven additional countries so that the benefits are in place for the summer peak.
“We will be working with airports and Border Force to closely monitor the much-needed improvement in queue times and ensure that sufficient eGates are in operation at all times.”
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