Australia's Easy, Breezy SmartGate Now Welcomes US Passports
If you are planning on heading to the 'Land Down Under' to escape the pending grip that winter will have on much of the US, you may be able to wiggle your toes in the sand a lot quicker after your plane touches down. The speed and ease of customs and immigration will be streamlined for selected passengers thanks to some reciprocity of Australia's SmartGate technology.
SmartGate allows Australian and New Zealand passport holders to quickly pass through customs with a swipe of their chip-enabled passport, collect a paper receipt and head to the special computerized gates. After inserting a receiptsimilar to a parking garage tickettravelers get a facial recognition scan and, if all goes well, the gates open up to collect luggage. This clears up the massive winding lines we have all encountered and which we all dread after a long flight.
At the beginning of November, Aussie Customs started a trial to allow Americans to take advantage of this convenience. Before you get too excited, there's just a few things you have to make sure of before you go. You must be a Global Entry member, carry an e-passport with a chip, and be over 16 years old. The gates can be found in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with their direct flights from the States, but gates are also in all international airports across the country.
Although the process eases immigration, it doesn't speed up the quarantine process. So if you don't want to be on this show, you still need to be checked by a real person there. Either way, we hope this catches on.