Airports change e-gate rules to allow children to pass through quicker

More than 400,000 youngsters expected to benefit

MNJF25 people arriving and entering UK through the e-passport border passport control gates at gatwick south terminal.
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British airports have changed procedures to allow the quicker passage of youngsters through border control.

On Monday, the UK changed its passport rules to allow children aged 10 and 11 to use e-gates.

Previously, only those aged 12 and older were permitted to use the gates.

The change comes as youngsters across the country started their summer holidays and the nation prepares for its busiest travel season.

Security measures have been expanded at 15 air and rail ports to help families travel more easily, after successful trials at major airports including Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow this year.

"Families with children over the age of 10 will be able to benefit from quicker entry into the UK using e-gates," Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said.

"This national roll-out will make travelling easier for passengers and strengthens the security of the UK border.

"The UK processes more passengers through e-gates than any other country – and this announcement ensures we remain at the forefront of technology."

A recent YouGov poll showed 42 per cent of the UK public plan to fly abroad this summer.

With passenger volumes expected to return to 2019 levels – and some ports exceeding those volumes – Border Force expects to see more than 34 million air arrivals coming through UK passport control in the coming months.

The new e-gate rule is expected to benefit thousands of families this summer, with more than 400,000 children aged 10 and 11 projected to use e-gates this year.

Britain is recognised as a global leader in the use of automation at the border, thanks largely to technology supplied by Vision Box.

Miguel Leitmann, Vision Box chief executive, said the company was "very proud to have supplied the technology that has enabled the UK Home Office and Border Force to lead the market, in what is widely regarded as the global reference for automated border control".

"He added: "With more passengers using e-passport gates in the UK than in any country in the world, we have been delighted to see the passenger usage rise year-on-year over the last 10 years.

"We have worked together with Border Force to facilitate the secure and seamless entry into the UK, reducing queues for more than 70 million passengers per year."

Updated: July 24, 2023, 10:04 AM