Boost for holidaying Brits as new plans emerge to use facial recognition in place of passports for UK arrivals

1 January 2024, 10:29

Brits could soon use facial recognition instead of passports at airports
Brits could soon use facial recognition instead of passports at airports. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Brits will enjoy an easier time at passport control under new plans to use facial recognition.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The proposal would see e-gates get set up at airports that would scan arrivals' faces and not require them to show a passport.

It is hoped trials will begin this year.

Border Force chief Phil Douglas said he hopes it will create a "much more frictionless facial recognition than we currently do".

He said he was impressed by Australia's next generation e-gates.

Read more: Brits to face more red tape entering the EU under strict new rules with concerns scheme will cause huge delays

"I had to apply for an electronic travel authorisation in advance and used my smartphone to read the chip in my passport," he told The Times.

"That sent the image of me in the chip to the Australian authorities. When I arrived in Australia, I didn't even have to get my passport out of my bag. It is a really interesting concept."

Dubai operates a system that allows for facial recognition to be used for arrivals from 50 countries.

The plans follow the roll out of the electronic travel authorisation scheme, which is used for arrivals from countries that don't require a visa.

They instead use an app to answer a questionnaire, scan their passport and then upload a photo.

It comes as Britain faces stricter rules to enter the EU - sparking fears about delays at the border.

The bloc is rolling out its Entry/Exit System, which will replace passport stamping and force Brits to hand over fingerprints and facial biometrics before travelling.

But Ryanair has warned the system is not even fir for testing yet, and said it has been "delayed multiple times and has been poorly managed".