SmartGate is an automated border processing system that gives some travelers the option to self-process through passport control on arrival from international destinations. The system uses the data in ePassports and facial recognition technology to perform the customs and immigration checks that are usually conducted by a customs and border protection officer. It is a simple, two-step process involving a kiosk and a gate. Step 1, the kiosk, confirms that the passenger is eligible to self-process. Step 2, the gate, performs the identity check and clearance.

To enable the expansion of SmartGate to certain non-citizens, the Australian government amended the Migration Act 1958 to provide a flexible legislative framework for the use of automated identification processing systems in immigration clearance[1]. DIAC has announced that from 1 November 2012 SmartGate will be available for U.S. Global Entry Program members. U.S. Global Entry Program members will be the first non-Australians to use the self processing solution since SmartGate was made available to New Zealand ePassport holders in December 2007.

To be eligible to use SmartGate to self-process through Australia's passport control, U.S. Global Entry Program members must:

  • be flying into Australia;
  • travel on a valid U.S. ePassport, and
  • be aged 16 years or older.

SmartGate is currently available for arriving passengers at Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast and Darwin. SmartGate is also available for arriving and departing travelers from Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland International Airports in New Zealand. An additional 20 SmartGate terminals will be installed at Australian international airports by 2014.

SmartGate will be gradually opened to nationals of other countries who carry ePassports. SmartGate aims to make processing through passport control simpler and more convenient by giving eligible passport holders the option to bypass the passport processing queues using their ePassport.