Following a successful trial at the major London airports over the spring, the Government has opened up all eGates to 10 and 11 year olds.
The change kicked in from yesterday so if you are currently away you will be able to take advantage on your return.
Over 400,000 10 and 11 year olds are expected to use the eGates this year which, when you include their parents and any other siblings, is likely to see well over 1 million people diverted away from the manned desks.
The issue with younger children is matching the photograph in their passport to a scan of their face. Whilst a child passport is only valid for five years vs 10 years for an adult passport, this can still lead to a huge difference between the photograph and how the child currently looks.
The Government has clearly decided that the level of passport rejection by eGates due to a failure to match the image is manageable.
A secondary issue, of course, is that the average child should be capable of following the instructions to use the eGates. Again, it seems that a 10 year old is now seen as old enough to follow the prompts.
The UK processes more passengers through eGates than any country, apparently. 15 air and rail ports currently use eGates with a total of 293 eGates in operation (well, installed – it’s rare to see them all ‘operational’!). Over 70 million passengers pass through eGates each year.
eGates are currently restricted to:
- British citizens
- nationals of an EU country, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the USA
- members of the Registered Traveller Service