Contraband - NZ Customs

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SmartGate opens to arriving US and UK travellers

SmartGate opens to arriving
US and UK travellers

In March, Customs extended SmartGate to arriving ePassport holders from the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

Paul Campbell, Group Manager Border Operations, says expanding the eligibility of SmartGate is a further step in New Zealand’s SmartGate story and builds on the success and popularity of this technology with both New Zealanders and Australians.

Last July, SmartGate was opened up to US and UK travellers on departure and since then over 140,000 eligible US and UK travellers have used the automated passenger processing system when leaving New Zealand.

SmartGate has been operating in New Zealand airports since 2009 and has been extremely popular, with over 8.5 million New Zealand and Australian travellers having used the system. 

It uses the information in ePassports and facial recognition technology to perform customs and immigration checks. The technology improves border security by allowing Customs to focus on high-risk travellers.

There are 22 gates operating across Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch airports for both departures and arrivals and are used by approximately 60,000 travellers per week.

“Customs and Immigration New Zealand are working together to look at the possibility of opening SmartGate to other nationalities, and reducing the age to include younger travellers, enabling families to go through together at peak school holiday times,” says Paul.