Travel FAQs: Everything you need to know about compulsory e-registration at Abu Dhabi Airport

On Monday, Abu Dhabi Airports Company announced that e-registration would be compulsory for passengers leaving from Abu Dhabi, ahead of busy travel weekend.

Passengers pass through the now compulsory E-Border gate, part of the smart travel system, at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. Christopher Pike / The National
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ABU DHABI // Registration of electronic passports for all passengers leaving Abu Dhabi International Airport has begun and is compulsory.

On Monday, Abu Dhabi Airports announced the move and said that about 85,000 people were expected to depart the airport during the Eid Al Fitr holiday to start on Sunday.

The company has provided information about Smart Travel to cut the time it takes for a passenger to clear the airport’s checks by up to 70 per cent.

1. What’s the step-by-step process and how long does it take?

For passengers who are registered with Smart Travel:

› Self check-in: this can be done through online check-in, the airport’s self check-in kiosks, or the remote check-in at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and City Terminal). Drop luggage at the counters. Complete the passport and iris scans at the new e-gates.

Passengers also have the option of using self-boarding gates, where they scan their boarding pass without the assistance of an airline employee, after which they can board their flight.

The self-boarding gates are expected to be in place at all airport gates by the end of this year.

For passengers who are not yet registered with Smart Travel:

› For passengers who checked in online or at a self check-in kiosk, customer service staff will assist with registration without having to queue for check-in.

› For passengers who have not checked in, e-registration for the new Smart Travel system can be done while queuing for check-in with the help of an immigration officer, who will conduct the biometric scan.

› Any passenger above the age of 5 can register free of charge. It only needs to be done once, but once a passport expires, the new passport should be re-scanned into the system during the first journey.

› Once registered, passengers can continue with check-in and baggage drop, then proceed to the new e-gates, or traditional immigration desks if they have a child under 5.

2. Can people register any time before their travel date or should it be on the day?

Yes, they can go to the airport any time with a valid passport and register. E-registration takes place at the check-in counters in Terminals 1 and 3.

3. Should people factor in extra time at the airport to get this done?

While e-registration takes only 20 seconds, passengers are advised to leave extra time for other airport processes during the peak season. They should reach the airport three hours before their flights, especially this weekend, when the number of passengers is expected to increase for Eid and summer break.

4. How many e-registration counters in check-in areas have been set up for passengers to register their travel documents?

There are 25 e-registration kiosks distributed between terminals 1 and 3.

5. What biometric information is taken?

Only an iris scan, which will be taken by the Ministry of Interior.

6. Are transit passengers and visitors spending a couple of days in Abu Dhabi required to register?

Those transiting but staying inside the airport don’t register, as they don’t need to go through immigration. Those leaving the airport will be automatically registered while at the immigration counter. It is not compulsory by law, but we are trying to register as many as possible so everyone benefits from it.

7. The more people register and use the system the less or shorter queues we will have.

They will be registered automatically upon arrival at immigration.

8. How can people check if they have been registered?

All registered passengers will have stickers on their passports stating that they have been registered.

9. Does the Abu Dhabi e-registration system work with Dubai’s e-gate system?

Not yet, but it is being worked on.

10. How many flights are expected to operate out of Abu Dhabi International Airport and how many passengers are expected to depart from the airport on July 6, 10 and 11, which were forecast to be its busiest days?

About 13,000 passengers are expected to depart from Abu Dhabi International on each of these days. There will be an average of 230 flights a day.

11. Since its launch in March, has the Smart Travel system improved passenger flow?

We have registered more than two million passengers to date. The system reduces processing times by 70 per cent on average.