With effect from March 11, 2019, UK Visa applicants from the US and six other countries will be able to enter the UK with electronic passport control gates.
This system was made public in October 2018, and its supporting legislation was passed just last month; February 2019.
Electronic passport control gates which are also known as e-gates or e-passports is currently a valid travel document for British and EU travelers who are 12+ years of age.
The 7 countries that can access the e-gates by March 11, 2019, are:
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- United States of America
Travelers from any of the above-listed countries who do not have a visa will get an automatic six-month valid permit to enter the country as a standard visitor. The visitor will not be able to work nor be eligible to access public funds.
These groups of people should not use e-gates
- People who are coming into the UK for the first time using a different type of visa eg a spouse visa. They are required to have their visas stamped by an immigration officer on the first visit to the UK.
- People who have a different purpose of entering the UK and do not have a visa. An immigration officer must stamp their visa under their preferred category.
- Those who have already had immigration issues in the UK and therefore hope to sneak past Immigration undetected. They are bound to be caught at the Border Force systems used for checking e-gates holders.
This e-gates system is designed to quicken the travel experience for business travelers or tourists.
Business travelers and their employees must note that similar restrictions apply to people who are entering the UK as visitors. It doesn't matter whether they used an e-gate or were stamped in by an immigration officer. The UK does not allow visitors to work or study in the country except in very rare situations. Visitors are also not permitted to stay for long periods in the country.
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