One Mile at a Time recently reported this fortuitous change in the UK's immigration process: Starting June 2019, the automated e-gates at immigration in all UK airports will be available to passport holders from seven new countries, including the U.S.
The countries included on the list are:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- United States
It is already available to UK, EU, EEA or Swiss passports. It is not known if the new countries will kick in on June 1, or sometime later during the month of June.
Essentially, this means these citizens are now eligible to use the ePassport gates, which use biometric scanning and a camera to get through immigration instead of speaking to a live, customs officer.
Though the UK has a Registered Traveller program through which select passport holders were able to use these (for a cost, like a whopping £70 or $84.60 USD per year), that simply won't be the case anymore.
(Portugal already offers this service to electronic passport holders, and I was able to use this recently while exiting the country. Hong Kong also offers this to its residents. I'd love to see more and more countries begin to offer this, instead of jumping in a ginormous, inefficient line.)
Probably a countermeasure against Brexit, or something.