From HandWiki
SmartGate logo.jpg
SmartGate for departures at Sydney Airport, Australia
Type of projectElectronic border control system
CountryAustralia, New Zealand
Launched2007; 16 years ago (2007)[1]
Brisbane Airport[2]

SmartGate (eGate in New Zealand) is an automated self-service border control system operated by the Australian Border Force and New Zealand Customs Service and located at immigration checkpoints in departure and arrival halls in ten Australia international airports, and 4 New Zealand international airports (as eGate). SmartGates allow Australian ePassport holders and ePassport holders of a number of other countries to clear immigration controls more rapidly, and to enhance travel security by performing passport control checks electronically.[3] SmartGate uses facial recognition technology to verify the traveller's identity against the data stored in the chip in their biometric passport, as well as checking against immigration databases. To use the SmartGate system, the traveller must have a biometric passport from Australia, New Zealand or certain other countries (these ePassports have the biometric logo on the front cover). The ePassport gate scanner reads all the information contained in the chip inside the passport and runs the data against numerous databases to determine if the traveller is a security risk, while a camera takes a picture of the traveller and an officer at a control station behind the gates checks that the image captured by the camera matches the one on the passport (facial recognition).[4] Once the data verification and facial recognition process is complete, doors will automatically either open, signifying that the traveller is permitted to enter and/or exit the country, or remain closed and a stop icon illuminate, demonstrating that the traveller has failed the security checks and will personally meet with immigration officials.

Travellers require a biometric passport to use SmartGate as it uses information from the passport (such as photograph, name and date of birth) and in the respective countries' databases (i.e. banned travellers database) to decide whether to grant entry or departure from the country or to generate a referral to a customs agent.[5] These checks would otherwise require manual processing by a human which is time-consuming, costly and potentially error-prone.[6]


The first trials of SmartGate began in 2002 with Qantas aircrews.[7] The trials were expanded in 2004 to include over 1,000 Qantas platinum frequent flyers, and in 2007 it was launched to the public at Brisbane Airport.[3]

Since October 2005, Australia has issued only biometric passports, called ePassports. As the validity of Australian passports do not exceed 10 years, all previous Australian passports have now expired and all valid passports are now biometric.

In May 2015, the Australian Government announced that SmartGate will be launched at air and sea ports, using solely biometrics to identify and process arriving passengers, with a goal of processing 90% of air travellers automatically by 2020. The introduction of biometric arrivals, under the Seamless Traveller initiative, is expected to cost approximately AU$93.7m over 5 years and be completed by March 2019.



Travellers are required to hold an ePassport, a valid Australian visa (except for Australian and New Zealand citizens) and complete an arrival card. The system requires travellers to look as much like their passport photo as possible, which may require removing glasses or hats when using SmartGate.

  • Australia Australia (including those aged
    between 10 and 15 years provided
    travelling with a minimum of two adults)
  • Argentina Argentina
  • Austria Austria
  • Canada Canada
  • China China
  • Denmark Denmark
  • France France
  • Finland Finland
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong
  • Republic of Ireland Ireland
  • Italy Italy
  • Japan Japan
  • Luxembourg Luxembourg
  • Macau Macao
  • Malaysia Malaysia
  • New Zealand New Zealand
  • Qatar Qatar
  • Singapore Singapore
  • South Korea South Korea
  • San Marino San Marino
  • Sweden Sweden
  • Switzerland Switzerland
  • Taiwan Taiwan[8]
  • Thailand Thailand
  • United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates[9]
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom
  • United Nations United Nations
  • United States United States


There are a number of notable exceptions when entering and departing Australia and using SmartGate.[10]

  • If airline crew meet the above requirements they are also eligible to use SmartGate or they may continue to use the "crew lane".[10]
  • Australian and New Zealand citizens travelling on military orders may not use SmartGate upon arrival.[10]
  • Australian children aged 10 to 15 years (inclusive) can use SmartGate upon arrival if they are accompanied by at least two adults.[10]


In Australia, SmartGate is available at ten international airports:

  • Adelaide
  • Avalon (departure only)
  • Brisbane
  • Cairns
  • Canberra
  • Darwin
  • Gold Coast
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney

New Zealand

eGate uses biometrics to match the picture of your face in your ePassport with the picture it takes of you at the gate. To make sure eGate is able to do this, passengers must look as similar to their ePassport photo as possible. Passengers should avoid headwear (including veils, scarfs, and hats) that obscure the face.[11]


Departing travellers, regardless of age and nationality, can use SmartGate if they have a machine-readable passport and can independently use the machine.

Arriving travellers using eGate must:[12]

  • be over the age of 12
  • hold an ePassport issued by one of the following countries:
  • New Zealand New Zealand
  • Australia Australia
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom
  • United States United States
  • Canada Canada
  • China China (Excluding Hong Kong)
  • France France
  • Germany Germany
  • Republic of Ireland Ireland
  • Netherlands Netherlands
  • Singapore Singapore
  • Japan Japan
  • South Korea South Korea

In New Zealand, SmartGate (named eGate) is available at four international airports:[13]

  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Queenstown

Privacy issues

The SmartGate system collects personal information includes the information on the biometric page of the passport, such as name, gender, date of birth, passport number, passport photograph, nationality, and the country of origin of the passport.[10]

Other information may also be collected, such as travel details, and the facial biometric template.[10]

Travellers passports are no longer stamped if they are processed by SmartGate.

See also

  • ePassport gates - a similar system operated in the United Kingdom
  • Parafe - a similar system operated in France


  1. "PM - Biometric 'Smartgate' system to be introduced to Australian airports". 
  2. "Australian SmartGate trial extended to Singaporean e-passport holders" (in en-GB). Future Travel Experience. 2014-03-20. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "New SmartGate aims to decrease airport queues". 
  4. "Home Office delivery ofBrexit: immigration - Home Affairs Committee - House of Commons". 
  5. "New Zealand Customs Service : How does SmartGate work?". 
  6. "Part 5: Processing passengers faster at airports — Office of the Auditor-General New Zealand" (in en). 
  7. "Roger Clarke's 'SmartGate'". 
  8. "澳洲宣布台灣護照持有人將可永久使用電子通關(SmartGate)自助通關入境". 
  9. "UAE nationals can use SmartGate at Australian airports". Retrieved 31 March 2018. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 "Arrivals SmartGates". 
  11. "eGate". 
  12. "eGate". 
  13. Customs New Zealand, "eGate", Retrieved 11/8/2020

External links