Thursday, 26 April 2012

Long Live The E-Gate Card! Oh...

passport. (Photo credit: kappuru)
The E-Gate card is dead. Honest, it's in Gulf News and everything so it must be true! Immigration has installed a nifty new scanner at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport that'll scan data from machine-readable passports and combine this with biometrics to give an instant 'no touch' entry system.

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!
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Oussama said...

Nice ..... And what about your iqama

Seabee said...

My brand new e-Gate card wouldn't let me through, three times, but trying it and then going to the Immigration person to be instantly stamped through is still about 50 minutes quicker than the non-eGate queues.

At Sydney it's the bio passport picture, look at the camera thingy. It recognised me (it doesn't always) and took less than one minute.

e-Gate has been good but the equipment obviously needs a drop of oil, a new fuse or something. The last few times the machines were showing a fault of some kind. This time it said in red letters 'Link Down'...but I was told to go through anyway. Three tries later I gave up.

Grumpy Goat said...

I'e recently discovered that my e-gate card will let me into the sheep-pen, which then gives an 'access denied' message.

As Seabee notes, it's still quicker to have the passport instantly stamped, but a major driving force in my obtaining an e-gate card was to slow the rate of passport stamping.

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