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UK Opens E-Passport Gates To CANZUK Countries

As part of the 2018 budget, the UK government has revealed that citizens of Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be able to use e-passport gates to enter the United Kingdom, thereby easing movement of all visitors and permit holders at UK airports.

Chancellor Philip Hammond and his Treasury team announce new e-passport plans for CANZUK countries (photo: Getty Images)

Written by James Skinner

James is the founder & chief executive of CANZUK International in Vancouver, Canada


Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the plans to make it easier for citizens from Canada, Australia and New Zealand to come to the United Kingdom, either to visit or work, in a Budget to prepare the United Kingdom for its upcoming departure from the European Union.

The e-Passport gates allow passengers to get through security quickly without needing to interact with a human border agent. They rely on facial recognition, which is checked against the passenger’s scanned passport.

At present, the e-Passport gates are available to UK, EU, EEA or Swiss holders of ‘chipped’ biometric passports only, meaning visitors from other nations face long queues.

However, the new plans for Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders (along with citizens from the US and Japan) have been designed to encourage closer cooperation and encourage a more out looking, global Britain outside of the EU.

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Providing ease-of-access will also be of particular benefit to business travelers, for whom any delays at the border can signal significant problems, and in some cases, may result in businesses opting to stay away altogether.

Sources close to the UK government have also confirmed that “special passport arrangements” are being discussed ahead of Brexit negotiations for citizens of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, implying that individuals in possession of such passports could benefit from special privileges, including greater access to visas and work permits.

CANZUK International is delighted with the UK government’s announcement, and will continue to encourage further cooperation between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the interests of freer movement, trade arrangements and diplomatic collaboration.

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