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UAE to have smart gates at all airports by 2015

Travellers with e-readable passports barcodes can proceed via the smart gate

Gulf News

Dubai: The jury is still out on new smart gates installed at Dubai International Airport. But word from officials is that they are a welcome addition.

The Dubai General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs’(GDRFA) smart gate at Terminal 3 is making life easier for travellers’ entering and exiting without the need to stop at passport control section to show their passport or ID. Travellers who use the smart gate do not need to undergo prior registration with the GDRFA unlike the e-gates.

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, said very soon more smart gates will be working with highest speed offering highest security standards.

“The first phase of the smart gate project, which cost more than Dh100 million and is done by Emirates Airline, Dubai Airports and the GDRFA, in order to install 28 smart gateways in the arrivals hall in Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport,” he told Gulf News on Monday.

“It will help fast movement of passengers and reduce the period of waiting at the passport control in addition to the 100 e-gates at the airport,” he said.

Al Merri said the system upgrade will be installed into the e-gate that would allow the identification of passengers by getting their biometrical scan once they walk in.

“The smart gate will work on e-passport, identity card, Emirates’ gate card or smart phone applications and take 20 seconds to proceed with the transaction,” he said.

The combined security system, to be in all airports across the country by 2015 and that will mean an end to long queues for people with biometric passports from 32 preapproved visa countries, UAE and GCC citizens,” he said.

Al Merri said the smart gate technology is the first to use biometrics, fingerprints, iris and facial recognition. He also confirmed that travellers do not need to register before using the system.

“The smart service is still under trial mode and will be fully in place in 2015. In addition to that Dubai has over 100 e-gates and last year the number of users reached 340, 473,” he added.

He added that criminal records, outstanding fines and immigration details registered in any emirate will be accessible at the touch of a button.

Emirates ID cards and existing e-Gate cards will be well-matched with the system.

“Three passengers will be able to processed through the smart gate each minute compared to the current average wait at the queue of about an hour,” said Al Merri.

“Passengers who hold passports without e-readable bar codes can proceed to the existing e-Gates or the conventional immigration counters to complete their entry or exit process,” added Major General Al Merri.