Beards and plastic surgery among the factors affecting e-passport gates

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New research has revealed some of the common reasons for passengers using e-passports failing checks at borders around the world.

While passengers are reminded to remove hats, glasses and scarves before entering the gate, the research, compiled by contact lens retailer Feel Good Contacts, found that physical factors such as beards, facial piercings, weight loss or weight gain could be enough to fail the check, causing delays and a potentially embarrassing walk back to visit a Border Force officer.

It is estimated that more than half a million passengers arriving in the UK have failed these checks over the past 12 months. That figure is set to rise, with seven more countries, including the USA and Australia, being eligible to use the gates since late May 2019.

Other factors, such as mood, alertness and physical condition, can play a factor in the success or failure of making it through the gate, according to findings by Matt Lewis, research director at cybersecurity and risk mitigation firm NCC Group. Some passengers have even reported failing these checks after having a few too many beers the night before a flight.

Kevin Smith, head of technology at facial recognition specialist Credas, said, “Improvements in technology now mean that only around 1% of passengers fail these tests, however this does mount up when you consider the sheer number of passengers passing through the terminals of the UK’s airports on a daily basis.”

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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