My fiancee was refused entry to UK in 2018. She later obtained a tourist visa in May 2019 and used that around August 2019 to enter the UK for 3 weeks.

She's returning to UK next week for another 3 week visit. Does she use the e-gate, or just go to a desk? She used an e-gate last time and it refused her and she had to go to manual inspection, but I'm not sure if this has been fixed. Is there a way to get this removed or something in the future?


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    I can't think of any reason not to! Dec 19, 2019 at 4:08
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    Is she eligible to use e-gates ? Secondly e-gates aren't foolproof. Sometimes they work sometimes they don't, chances are high if you are coloured. I have had many times when e-gates didn't work in some airports but worked just fine in other airports.
    – DumbCoder
    Dec 19, 2019 at 9:11
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    @DumbCoder How does being ‘coloured’ (not a term I’m comfortable using) affect whether e-gates work, assuming the individual is eligible to use them?
    – Traveller
    Dec 19, 2019 at 9:31
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    @DumbCoder ‘Coloured’ is not a universally acceptable term where I live, I don’t like using it and if I have to use it, I prefer to make that clear. Yes, I do understand how e-gates work - in essence, they require a chipped passport and use facial recognition technology to compare your face to the photograph recorded on the ‘chip’ in your passport. I’m asking simply to understand better why the colour of a person’s skin makes it more likely the gate will fail to work. The OP doesn’t state his fiancée’s ethnicity so an explanation may help them.
    – Traveller
    Dec 19, 2019 at 9:42
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    @Traveller They use face recognition. Face recognition is still not entirely reliable. I can't say whether the UK's e-gates have problems with certain skin colours, since I haven't used them and I have light skin anyway, but it's entirely plausible. Dec 19, 2019 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


E-gates are valid only for holder of some country passport: UK, EEA, AUS, CND, JP, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, USA (https://www.heathrow.com/arrivals/immigration-and-passports). I didn't check but usually only on some passport, but usually it is the case for most people (and our site) [diplomatic passport often need regular check]. You may need to manual check also if you are required to get some stamps (this depend on the status you want to enter).

Note: it requires passport (it is not about citizenship): I often travel without passport, so I need the manual check.

In any case: if she is eligible, she can try. Worst case she is flagged to make the manual check: there is not just a biometric check, but also passport (and eligibility) check. She may be in a special database which flag her to manual check, just to be sure her intension (a machine cannot yet do it).

As other wrote in comment: not always the e-gates works, and as far I know, some people are sampled to do a second check.


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