|passport. (Photo credit: kappuru)|
Up until now, if you didn't want to join the long, shuffling queues at immigration and have your passport filled with inky stampy things, the E-Card was the way to go. Although not for me, sadly, as the system decided to start refusing to read my thumbs a couple of years back, even after I'd gone up to the E-Gate centre and had 'em rescanned.
It's actually been ten years since the introduction of the 'old' E-Gate card system.
I've used these new scanners at Heathrow and they're fast - certainly within the 15 seconds GN mentions. The scheme is to roll them out to all of Dubai's entry points after a two month trial at Terminal 3. They use facial recognition technology to compare a snapshot of your mug with the one stored in the chip in your machine readable passport.
It's a pretty advanced move for the UAE - while over 170 countries now issue machine readable passports, fewer issue chip-enabled 'e-passports' and only six countries are using 'heightened biometrics' such as facial scans, fingerprints or retinal scans in their border scanners. It's soon to be seven!