Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection announced today that its automated arrival border clearance option ‘SmartGate’ is now opened permanently to eligible Hong Kong ePassport holders. SmartGate uses electronic information in ePassports and face recognition technology to perform the immigration checks usually performed by a Border Force officer.
Hong Kong is one of eight new eligible passports with access to Australia’s SmateGate option. This means arrivals SmartGates at all Australian international airports will now provide a permanent automated border clearance option for many of Australia’s most regular visitors.
Hong Kong travellers will still need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) before arriving in Australia.
In conjunction with this announcement, Hong Kong Immigration Department has also announced reciprocal access for Australian nationals to its automated clearance channels. Holders of Australian passports can enrol for the e-Channel service in Hong Kong free of charge.
Australian Consul-General, Mr Paul Tighe, said the automated clearance services provide greater travel convenience for Hong Kong and Australian passport holders. SmartGate enables Hong Kong travellers to move through border clearance more quickly and effectively. This also means our Border Force officers can focus on detecting unlawful activity at the border.
In the twelve months to 30 April 2016 almost 234,000 people from Hong Kong visited Australia, an increase of 15 per cent over the previous year. Hong Kong is Australia’s 10th biggest tourism market with most visitors arriving either for a holiday or to visit relatives.
More than 35 million travellers were processed through Australian airports in 2014–15. The number of travellers arriving in Australia is steadily increasing and the expansion of SmartGate to other eligible passport holders will help Australia maintain border security while providing a simple arrival process for travellers.
For more detailed information about Australia’s SmartGate, visit: www.border.gov.au/SmartGate.BACK