The e-gate at Terminal 2 of Dubai International Airport. It allows visitors and residents to do away with standing in line. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Passengers can now bypass long queues and clear passport control procedures within seconds using their Emirates Identity cards through the electronic gates (e-Gates) at the arrival wing of Terminal Three at Dubai International Airport.

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) announced on Sunday that it has completed the activation of e-Gate service through the use of the Emirates ID, a service which requires no prior registration.

Major General Obaid Muhair Bin Surour, deputy director-general of the GDRFA, told Gulf News that the new service will benefit all residents and citizens who already carry an Emirates ID card. In the first phase it has been activated in Terminal Three arrivals, which currently has 28 e-Gates.

“The new project has been implemented in cooperation with the Emirates Identity Authority to further improve our services and ensure a pleasant and smooth experience for all passengers,” he said.

Major General Bin Surour said the e-Gate service using the ID card has a lot of benefits, one of them being the fact that it only requires a single card to travel.

“The service will soon be activated in all other terminals as well. As part of the first phase, we have implemented it at the arrival wing of Terminal three, but in the following phases of the project, the service will be activated in Terminals one, two, and three at both the arrivals and departures wings,” he said.

He explained that there aren’t any charges or prior registration for using this service, it only requires a valid Emirates ID.

Lt Colonel Talal Al Shanqeeti, assistant of the director-general for airport affairs at the GDRFA, had also said the activation of this project is vital as it facilitates smooth and swift entry and exit of passengers holding an Emirates ID and achieves high efficiency in handling passenger procedures.

Dubai International Airport was the first in the region to implement the e-Gate system in 2002, and the third airport in the world to do so. The e-Gate system reads passport information and captures biometric data, including facial recognition, in 12 to 14 seconds. All these procedures are completed while maintaining a high-level accuracy and security standards, officials have said.

Residents of the UAE quickly welcomed the new activation with the e-Gates, saying the technology paves the way for a faster and more efficient movement of the large number of passengers into and out of the airport and is a step towards encouraging the culture of e-travel among residents.

Fayaz S., an Indian expat, said the last time he used the e-Gate was ten years ago when he required to register and renew an e-Gate card, but now with his Emirates ID, he believes it’s a lot easier.

“I couldn’t get the e-Gate cards for my entire family and it didn’t make sense to go through the gate alone. With this new activation, I think it’s great that it now can recognise our Emirates ID cards. We no longer have to wait in long queues and don’t have to go through the hassle of getting a separate e-Gate card. Every expat has an Emirates ID and you just walk out of immigration in a breeze.”

Jasem Ahmad, an Emirati, 26, said: “I’ve never tried using any of the e-Gates or smart gates at the airport because they both required prior registration to be able to use them and I just didn’t bother going through that. Personally, I prefer to go through the standard passport control, but now with this service, I think I will give it a try.”