Countries that will be able to use e-passports for UK Entry in 2019

If you have been frustrated by the notoriously long passport lines at London’s Heathrow Airport, which the last time we went through there, took almost three hours, you might want to start planning your visit after April 2019 — provided you’re from one of five countries.

“We’ll open the use of e-passport gates at Heathrow and other airports, currently only available to EEA nationals, to include visitors from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan,” UK Finance Minister Hammond proclaimed in a speech.

heathrow e-passports uk

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Heathrow Airport, Terminal 3, forecourt, November 2015.

What is the EEA?

The EEA, or European Economic Area, includes European Union member countries as well as a few others — Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland and are allowed in the fast lanes.

People have been getting “Brexit” fever.  Many in both the UK and abroad, have become very concerned that Brexit will complicate entering the UK by air. So the answer to that anxiety is maybe yes, maybe no!

As to who gets a pass, it is largely an old boys club of course! Of the five nations listed, three — Canada, Australia and New Zealand — are members of the Commonwealth. Who has the easiest passage from country to country with the fewest visas and paperwork needed, you might ask? Anyone with Japanese passports can enter a whopping 190 countries without needing a visa or any additional paperwork. The United States and United Kingdom are tied for fifth place of honor on the list!

Happy travels and may an e-passport be with you!