My brother and I often travel together and we both have biometric passports. We are not twins but we do look alike, I wear glasses whereas my brother doesnt. However, whenever we arrive at a destination and attempt to use the e-gates at immigration, the first one of us to go through the gate is successful, whilst the other one will be rejected and is therefore directed to a manned gate to be let through. This has happened every time since the introduction of e-gates. We've tried going through the gates at the same time in two gates in parallel and we've tried going through the same gate one after the other (also in different orders) and the same thing happens.

This doesn't just happen at one airport; it has happened at different airports across different countries (specifically, LHR, LGW, LTN, SXF and AKL as far as I can remember off the top of my head). This problem does not seem to occur if we're not travelling together (for instance, I've navigated the gates successfully when I've travelled with work, whilst my brother had no problems when he went on a solo trip a few years back).

Though this isn't a major issue, I'm just curious to know what might be causing this and if there's anything we can do about it?

  • I have seen e-gates having problem identifying coloured people i.e. don't open or take a long time. So wouldn't be surprised if they cannot differentiate between 2 identical looking but different persons.
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 8:08

1 Answer 1


These are just my guesses as a system developer working with fraud detection.

Since the e-Gates are using the image (stored in the chip) in your passport, two people having faces looking almost the same and going through the gates so soon after each other should trigger a warning.

To solve this you could do plastic surgery or maybe use different flights so that the time between using the e-Gates is larger. I guess the timeout could be just 5 minutes.

You could also try wearing a hat, glasses or makeup.

I actually have the exact same image in both my passport and my EU National ID Card. If they were to be used within 5 minutes of each other, the 2nd should also be declined. But say I leave the country and then come back and use my other ID, I should be let in.

I got the same image in both as I applied for both at the same time. They're pretty cheap in Sweden.

  • 2
    Some E gates are iffy with glasses, I've had to take mine off before now even when I cant read the screen without them 😂
    – Uciebila
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 21:44
  • 3
    Do you have any sources that suggest that any country has programmed its automated passport gates in the way you describe?
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 1:57
  • 3
    I already wear glasses. My brother does not. Doesn't seem to make a difference. Having a longer gap between us going through the gates is something we haven't tried yet though.
    – Tim B
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 5:41
  • 6
    "To solve this you could do plastic surgery", savage.
    – Guido
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 14:17
  • @phoog I'm just guessing. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 16:21

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