Eurostar officially launches SmartCheck biometric gates
Effective July 18th, 2023, the Eurostar “SmartCheck” biometric gates utilizing iProov technology have officially launched for passengers traveling through at London’s St Pancras International Station on premium rail plans, after being in trials since the end of 2021.
The contactless pre-departure gate system eliminates the need for manual passport checks as travelers exit the UK.
Passengers use a phone app to scan their IDs and verify their face using their mobile device, which can be done at home. They then enter designated SmartCheck check-in lanes equipped with iPads, according to The Next Web, and provide a face-scan. Afterwards, travelers need to go through baggage inspection and a passport check through French border control.
Before the implementation, Eurostar was facing an increased processing time of 30 percent due to post-Brexit border checks, according to Business Traveller. The check-in system has the potential to eliminate border congestion that has increased with post-Brexit passport checks.
The lanes incorporate biometric technology from iProov with Entrust‘s IDVaaS technology for digital travel credential management. Travelers pre-register by submitting a selfie and scanning the NFC chip in their passport, a capability provided throughout the trials by Inverid (previously known as Innovalor). This follows Entrust’s recent contract win with the UK Home Office to expand digital verification for immigration.
In a company statement, Andrew Bud, founder and CEO of iProov, said that the rollout of the technology “demonstrates how facial biometric technology can be used to manage border control in a smarter and more efficient way, to benefit both organizations and passengers at scale,” The biometric corridor is “saving precious time and space at the border, streamlining the boarding process to one that’s far faster, more convenient, less crowded and stressful, yet even more secure,” he says.
The trial will be reviewed and analyzed in autumn before expanding before Eurostar considers extending it to regular passengers, other stations, and border control partners.
This system is especially relevant as the EU’s new Entry/Exit System (EES) is expected to be operational by the end of 2023. “The EES is going to put even more pressure on the system because we have to set up 24 kiosks at St Pancras for pre-registration for non-EU customers,” says Gwendoline Cazenave, Eurostar CEO. “So this is also about showing that it is possible – it’s not science fiction, it’s now.”