Selfies help travellers clear immigration at Dubai International as border control goes biometric

Emirates is introducing facial recognition technology to shorten passengers’ waits at immigration and check-in counters, a move that comes as the U.S. revives a ban that could complicate air travel from the Middle East.

Travellers can now take a selfie with their mobile to help fly through immigration at Dubai International Airport’s terminal 3 (T3).

Two new features have been launched for passengers flying out of T3 – biometric technology and new automated border control gates – Emirates said yesterday.

The biometric technology will allow for facial recognition integrated with the UAE Wallet. Travellers can register and store their biometric data by taking a selfie on a mobile phone as well as using registration kiosks placed at check-in points and Emirates lounges.

After registering, users can access their data to hasten their trips through those often long immigration lines or other points throughout the airport. It also includes automated access to Emirates’ first and business class lounges.

Smart immigration gates, or One Gate, will be installed at departures to supplement existing e-gates and manned immigration counters. It will use the passengers’ biometrics, slashing time grabbing passport and boarding passes.

These additions, involving Emirates Airline, Dubai Customs, Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDFRA), Dubai Police and Dubai Airports, will help streamline the check-in and immigration points at departure.

Adel Al Redha, the Emirates executive vice president and chief operations officer, said the investment for equipment, training and changing operations, was to benefit the end users.

“We are all on the same page when it comes to wanting to deliver the best experience for visitors coming to and through Dubai, and we look forward to bringing these projects to fruition and introducing more enhancements in the coming months,” he said.

These two projects, which fall under the Together Initiative, are expected to be completed within the next 12 to 18 months. Launched in May, the Together Initiative is working to improve traveller experience at T3 with focus smart, speed, saving, service, safety and security.

“We believe this will make our operations more efficient, free up our valuable manpower to focus on other responsibilities, and ultimately improve traveller experience,” said Mohammed Al Marri, the director of the GDFRA.

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