From the 20 May 2019 the Home Office expanded the use of eGates at 15 major airports and Eurostar terminals to nationals from seven countries. eGates have previously only be available to UK, EU, EEA nationals and those who have paid for the Registered Traveller Scheme.
This means that Business and Academic visitors coming for less than 6 months, from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America can use the automated eGates on arrival into the UK, free of charge.
They will no longer complete a landing card, or receive an entry stamp in their passport from an immigration officer.
Nationals from these seven countries, however must not use the eGates in the following situations. Instead they must attend a staffed immigration desk to receive the correct stamp in their passport;
- Visiting under the Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) route. These visitors require a specific one month grant of leave, which has to be given by an immigration officer in the form of a stamp. Without this stamp the visitor will be unable to evidence they can undertake the permitted paid activity.
- Short Term Students coming for up to 6 months
- Visitors travelling with children under the age of 12
- Visitors who do not hold a passport with a biometric chip
Departments, faculty and colleges should continue to issue the appropriate invitation letter ahead of the individuals visit and undertake an immigration status check upon their arrival to Oxford. For these nationals this will result in holding a copy of their passport details page only, as there will be no stamp, and a copy of the invitation letter on file for the duration of their visit.
The Business, Academic and Permitted Paid Engagement visitor template letters and ‘Overseas visitor communication leaflet' have been updated to reflect the eGate expansion. Please ensure you use these templates for any future visitors.
This does not change the requirements for visa nationals, who will still continue to need to apply for and obtain the visa before travelling. A list of visa national countries can be found in Appendix 2.
Who should not use the E-gates?
- Non-visa nationals who are not from one of the seven countries, will still have to attend a staffed immigration desk to receive an entry stamp in their passport.
Tier 1, 2 and 5 new starters who are entering the UK for the first time on their 30 day vignette, should at present not use eGates. This ensures they receive an arrival stamp from an immigration officer to ‘activate’ their visa status.