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UNITED KINGDOM: Launch of New ePassport Gates at Gatwick

On December 4, 2013, the Home Office unveiled new, state-of-the-art machines at London's Gatwick airport that allow passengers with electronic chips in their passports to pass quickly and efficiently through immigration control.

This is one of the measures the Home Office is focusing on to improve services at the border. Another service is the Registered Travellers Scheme, which is being piloted at both Gatwick and Heathrow airports until March 31, 2014. If the pilot proves successful, Registered Travellers qualifying to take part will benefit from faster processing at the border as they will not need to be processed through the normal passport desks. There will be a dedicated lane for Registered Travellers.

Registered Travellers with a compatible biometric-chipped passport will be able to use the electronic passport gates at Gatwick. There will be an annual membership charge and a fee for registering new passports and using this service.  (See eligibility and criteria.)

This scheme is only open to visitors who previously registered under the IRIS scheme during the pilot. As part of its consultation on fees and charging, however, the Home Office is considering extending this type of premium service to other visa categories, including limited leave to remain.

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