South African airports to get new e-gates – here’s what you need to know

The Department of Home Affairs says it will pilot new e-gates at a number of South African airports in 2019.

A spokesperson told BusinessTech that the gates will first be piloted at Cape Town International Airport and will form part of the implementation of the Biometric Movement Control System (BMCS).

He added that a further rollout will be done in a phased approach, with Oliver Tambo and King Shaka International airports to follow.

“The broad objective of the project is the facilitation of movement of low-risk travellers through a self-service solution, hence freeing capacity for the assessment of high-risk categories by an immigration officer,” the spokesperson said.

“In line with the risk-based approach to managing migration, the first phase will focus on South African passport holders (excluding minors).”

He added that the gates are being developed in terms of the Home Affairs White Paper on International Migration, as well as international civil aviation legislation.

Expected benefits of the project include:

  • Reduced processing time at Immigration for low-risk travellers;
  • Increased capacity to focus on higher-risk categories;
  • Managing boarding time; and
  • Improved customer satisfaction.

How it will work

For the e-gates pilot at Cape Town International Airport, South African passport holders travelling internationally will proceed to e-gates for self-service immigration clearance where the following would be performed:

  • Biometric verification;
  • Passport authenticity and validity checks;
  • Checks against the BMCS risk engine; and
  • The BMCS will record the movements of persons on the system after all system checks have been successfully performed.

Home Affairs said that the e-gates project will help address the key issue of traveller identification management, which is at the heart of secure and facilitated travel.

Read: A record number of South Africans have applied for a second passport – here’s where they’re going

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South African airports to get new e-gates – here’s what you need to know