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Nationals of the United States and six other countries will be able to start using electronic passport control gates when they enter the UK from June 2019.
At the moment electronic passport control gates – known as e-gates or ePassport gates – can be used by British and EU nationals aged 12 and over.
People from these countries who don’t already have a visa will automatically be granted entry as a standard visitor for six months, with the usual prohibition on employment and recourse to public funds.
The new system will make entry to the UK much quicker for people travelling on business or for tourism.
Business travellers and their employers need to bear in mind that the same restrictions apply to people entering as visitors regardless of whether they are stamped in by an Immigration Officer or use an e-gate. Visitors are not allowed to work or study in the UK except in very limited circumstances. They are also not allowed to live in the UK for extended periods. The Home Office already collects entry and exit data from airlines and other carriers taking people to and from the UK. Anyone using e-gates can also expect to have their movements tracked. If a visitor appears to be spending most of their time in the UK they will run into trouble, whether or not they use e-gates.
The original version of this update incorrectly stated that the new system would come into effect on 11 March 2019. The Government has since announced that it will not implement the new system until June 2019.
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