The Home Office have announced that nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America will be permitted to use eGates from Monday 20 May 2019.
The use of eGates means that nationals from these countries entering the UK as either a visitor or as a Tier 4 student, will no longer be required to speak to a Border Force Officer on entry to the UK. Nationals from these new countries will be able to use the eGates instead which will simply read the chip in your passport, compare the digital image from the chip to your face and allow you to enter the UK. Tier 4 students with either a Tier 4 visa or a BRP from the new list of nationalities will be permitted to use the eGates as described.
In order to use the eGates, nationals from the new list of countries must have a passport with a biometric chip and also be above the age of 12 (12 - 17 year olds must be accompanied by an adult).
Short-term students from the new list of countries must not use the eGates. Short-term students must speak to a Border Force Officer in order to obtain a short-term study stamp in their passports. We are currently clarifying the position with the Home Office concerning short-term students from the new list of countries who mistakenly use the eGates to enter the UK. Guidance from the Home Office suggests that such students should see a Border Force Officer before they leave the port. Short-term students who use the eGates to enter the UK will not be permitted to study as they have entered the UK incorrectly. Short-term students who leave the port without seeing a Border Force Officer may need to leave the UK and re-enter in order to speak to a Border Force Officer. In order to avoid this, it is essential that short-term students avoid using eGates on initial entry.
The Home Office have also announced that landing cards for all non-EEA citizens are to be abolished. As visitors and Tier 4 students who use the eGates will no longer receive a stamp in their passport on entry to the UK, it is advisable that you keep some form of evidence of the date of entry to the UK in case you need to evidence this in the future. Acceptable evidence includes a boarding card, ticket or booking confirmation for travel to the UK.
Further details can be found by visiting the Home Office website.