IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Ireland plans to install 20 e-gates at Dublin Airport by the end of 2017 to provide automated immigration clearance to travelers via passport biometrics and facial scan recognition.

What does the change mean? In the first phase, European Union nationals over 18 who hold e-passports or Irish passport cards will be able to use the e-gates. Immigration authorities will then consider whether to expand the service to non-EU nationals under a registered traveler program.

  • Implementation time frame: By the end of 2017.
  • Visas/permits affected: Immigration clearance at Dublin Airport.
  • Who is affected: EU nationals over 18 who hold e-passports or an Irish passport card.
  • Impact on processing times: E-gates speed airport entry.
  • Business impact: The e-gates are a convenience for business travelers, employees and assignees traveling to Ireland.

Background: According to an announcement by Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service has awarded a contract for installing the e-gates. The electronic immigration gates allow eligible travelers to scan their e-passport containing a biometric chip and to scan their facial image against various databases. Flanagan said the e-gates will provide greater security at airports at a time of increased passenger travel that has grown by 46 percent in the last five years. In 2016, immigration services at Dublin airport processed a record 13.8 million arriving passengers, and that number is expected to be even higher this year.

BAL Analysis: The e-gates should streamline airport clearance for Irish and other EU nationals by the end of the year.