Travellers from some countries heading to the UK will soon be able to use their passport to jump the dreaded immigration queues.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond has announced that passport holders from five countries will “soon be able” to fast-track their way into the country via the designated e-gates.
“We’ll open the use of ePassport gates at Heathrow and other airports, currently only available to EEA nationals, to include visitors from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan,” Mr Hammond said.
He said the Budget would “send a message loud and clear to the rest of the world that Britain is open for business”.
Previously only travellers in the European Economic Area with biometric passports were able to use the much desired e-passport lanes.
With more than 78 million travellers passing through last year alone, Heathrow Airport is recognised as Europe’s busiest airport.
At the height of Europe’s summer, travellers outside the EEA waited more than 45 minutes to have their passport checked 96 per cent of the time.
Australia’s High Commissioner George Brandis welcomed the idea, saying it was something they had been working towards for a long time.
Our 🇦🇺 High Commissioner George Brandis warmly welcomes the #Budget2018 announcement by @hmtreasury @PhilipHammondUK that Aussie passport holders will soon be able to use UK ePassport gates – we've been working towards this for some time so it is great to see it announced. ✈️ pic.twitter.com/o6Ivj5dfct
— Aus. High Commission (@AusHouseLondon) October 29, 2018