Australians travelling to the UK will be rapt with the news that as of next year their passport will enable them to fast track through the long border control queues at UK airports.
As part of the latest UK Budget, the Chancellor to the Exchequer Philip Hammond this week announced in the House of Commons that Australians with electronically enabled passports will be able to use the e-passport gates at UK airports, instead of queuing to meet with border officials.
“We’ll open the use of e-passport gates at Heathrow and other airports, currently only available to EEA (European Economic Area) nationals, to include visitors from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan,” said Mr Hammond.
He is hoping that the announcement would “send a message loud and clear to the rest of the world that Britain is open for business”.
Australian High Commissioner to the UK George Brandis has welcomed the announcement as “great” news, saying Australia had been working on that change for some time.
At the moment, only UK, European Union, European Economic Area or Swiss passport holders with biometric passports can use the UK’s e-passport lanes.
The new system will mean that Aussie travellers won’t have to queue for face-to-face contact with border officials, which should significantly reduce the time Aussies spend waiting in queues at British airports.
Have you ever had to queue at a UK airport? Do you think all nations should adopt e-passport protocols?