Biometric passports automate border control

UK passengers with an e-passport can use a semi-automatic border control system when travelling to Faro or Lisbon in Portugal, the Home Office has said.

Those in the UK with a biometric e-passport can walk right on past border queues in parts of Portugal using a semi-automatic passport control system, the Home Office has announced.

The RAPID system, which uses uses facial recognition technology and scanners to check identity, has been available since August in Lisbon and the spring at Faro airport, arrival point for the many British travellers visiting the Algarve. Indeed, 80 per cent of passengers using Faro are from Britain or Ireland, and three million British travellers head to Portugal annually.

Anyone over the age of 18 with one of eight million UK e-passport's issued so far can use the system, by walking up to the gates, holding the passport up to a scanner, and then looking at a camera. If approved, the gates open.

The Home Office said the process takes just 20 seconds.

Home Office Minister Meg Hillier said: "The system in place at Faro is a sign of things to come, as countries all around the world adopt biometric technology to strengthen border controls and the security of their travel documents."

The automated passport check system will be rolled out across Portugal by the end of this year.

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