Long queues for immigration are now a thing of the past for Australians arriving in the United Kingdom. As of Monday 20 May, Australians can now use the e-gates for passport control when arriving at UK airports including London Heathrow.
This is welcome news for travellers to the UK as lines for passport control at airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick can be very long. This is particularly the case early in the morning, when both Qantas flights from Australia land. The timing is also welcome as the busy European summer holiday period (July and August) is fast approaching.
UK passport e-gates are now available to Australians aged over 18 with chipped passports (which all new passports are). Children over the age of 12 can also use the e-gates when accompanied by an adult. However, as is often the case, the e-gates are not open to children under the age of 12. Families travelling with younger children will still need to speak to an immigration officer for processing. However, with any luck, the queues will now be shorter as more travellers have access to the e-gates.
The UK also extended e-gate passport control to nationals of six other countries last Monday, including New Zealanders, Singaporeans, Americans and Canadians.
The UK government had previously announced that Australians would have access to e-gates from June of this year.
In other welcome news, the UK has also ditched landing cards. These forms previously needed to be completed by all Australian passengers when arriving in the UK. Australia got rid of departure cards back in 2017, but travellers still need to complete arrival documentation when returning to Australia.
There is no passport control or paperwork to be completed when departing from the UK.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: UK Scraps Landing Cards