View Full Version : Electronic Passports

20th May 2008, 10:47
Spent last week in Madeira. Both arrival and departure immigration have lines for electronic passports. Typically for an airport the departures had 4 electronic lines and two mannable desks - one of them manned, when 3 a/c were departing close together, i.e. about 400 pax trying to get through within a short space of time, of whom probably 10 had electronic passports.

I've never noticed these desks anywhere else. I would be interested to know if these are obtainable in UK, and worth having, i.e common in other airports.


20th May 2008, 20:17
Never heard them called such. There are some passports now incorporating 'Biometric' characteristics and require sophisticated reading equipment for finger prints, Iris recognition etc.

Were these desk unable to handle regular passports? Were these desks staffed?

21st May 2008, 10:54
The damn expensive electronic passports ( with an integrated chip ) were dictated by the Americans ( making America safer:)). However the TSA morons forgot that they should have bought also the reading equipment. "oh, you should have told us that on beforehand".

In China it works perfectly! They just lay it into the box, look at the Visa and presto you are through in less than 30 secs, whereas the TSA procedure takes 3 - 6 minutes per PAX.

21st May 2008, 10:57
No, there was no staff, just barriers (a bit like the IRIS ones), pax who had these passports had to put them face down on a scanner, there was a monitor screen that showed the pax face or picture, then the barrier opened and the pax went through. We have visited quite a few airports during the last couple of years, but never seen these anywhere else, however I naturally wondered if they were an up-and-coming feature and, like the IRIS, it would be beneficial to get registered for it.


PS, I've now done a different google and found more info - it looks like it is a Portuguese initiative from this web site:- http://www.vision-box.com/content/index.php?action=detailfo&rec=1820&t=Smartgates-at-Funchal-Airport-Madeira so maybe that's why I haven't seen them anywhere else - only previous time I've been to Portugal in the last couple of years was by ship, no real checks there at all.

22nd May 2008, 16:56
Yeah electronic passports are now issued as standard here (also rest EU probably) when you renew. Though at the moment they don't tend to hold much more than your picture and basic details but eventually they will have full biometrics.

Used the ones at Lisbon airport over the weekend, good idea in theory but requires the pax to comply exactly with instructions, i.e scanning passport for right time and standing and staring exactly at the camera whilst it scans you're face to match the picture.

Ad C
22nd May 2008, 20:31
I've just returned from the algarve. Over nearly 2 hours in departures I only saw 1 person use the electronic parsport control. Seems like quite a time saver for those who can use them.

27th May 2008, 20:21
Arrived at Faro a fortnight ago. Long, slow moving immigration queue, but also several gates for electronic passports, completely deserted. I had recently renewed my passport so I gave it a whirl.

There is a screen which shows your real time mug alongside your passport photo. It let me through at about the fourth attempt but I have to say, in its defence, that I had grown a beard since the passport was issued so it was a good little test for it! And if I thought that put me one up on everybody else still patiently (or impatiently) queueing, I quickly realised I was wrong, as my wife still has the old issue and I had to wait for her. In any case, it just gives you longer to wait at the baggage carousel!