Say goodbye to those annoying forms! You'll never have to bother an air steward for a pen ever again! Some things really do feel like an awfully long time coming. After months and years of tinkering and test programs it appears that a day in the sun has finally presented itself for UK citizens and those from Visa Waiver Program countries hoping to enter the United States. If you're one of the thousands, sorry, make that millions who've waited in impossibly long lines to speak to our ever friendly agents, rejoice. It's a new day and you might make it into one of our fantastic cities in minutes rather than hours thanks to the complete roll out of electronic passport kiosks at 36 airports!
Fortunately the red tape isn't too red nor is it that complicated. In order to use the E-Passport gates, affectionately titled "Passport Express" you need to be a US or Canadian citizen or someone from a Visa Waiver country with an ESTA who's been to the United States at some point since 2008. That's all. Assuming you fit those conditions you are welcome to seek out the E-Gates, slide your passport into the machine, take a smiling picture, fill out an electronic touch screen declaration and then make your way with your shiny receipt (complete with photo) to an agent who will collect your form. Look out for the dreaded X, it means you've been flagged!
This is fantastic news for frequent travels and holiday makers alike. Time spent in airports after a long flight is not the reason we pay a fortune to hop into a metal tube blazing through the sky. E-Gates are proven to be faster while offering a less invasive procedure. From what I'm hearing, it gets better, Global Entry for UK/EU residents isn't far off either. Fingers crossed. I hope these new "Passport Express" electronic gates bring you happy travels and more time on the ground where you'd like to be!
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