Australia SmartGate Now Lets US Trusted Travelers Go Through Immigration Faster

by on November 9, 2012 · 11 comments

in Global Entry

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One of the smartest things I’ve done as an international traveler is to join the US’s Global Entry program (which I got for free thanks to the $100 rebate my Amex Platinum gives me as one of the cardholder perks) for Trusted Travelers since it allows me to skip the sometimes hours-long lines at immigration and customs when reentering the States. It saves me precious time and energy after coming off international long-haul flights where I’m exhausted anyway.

Breezing through immigration back home makes it that much harder to have to wait in huge lines when entering other countries. The good news is, when I decide to visit Australia, that’ll no longer be the case.

Australia’s Customs and Border Protection agency will now allow US Trusted Travelers to use their automated SmartGate border processing kiosks – at least on a trial basis. Like the US Global Entry kiosks, SmartGate uses biometric face recognition (Global Entry is fingerprinting) and ePassport technology to process passengers.

To be able to use the SmartGate system, you must be a member of Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI, travel with a valid US ePassport and be 16 years of age or older. An ePassport is the kind of passport the US has been issuing since 2007 with the chip embedded in the front cover.
There’s no enrollment process to participate, you will just have to go to one of the kiosks and self-process when you arrive in Australia.

SmartGate is currently available at the following airports in Australia:

Gold Coast

Australian Customs and Border Protection is currently expanding the facilities at Melbourne and Sydney, so there could actually be some delays for now, but eventually there will be five new gates at Melbourne and four new ones and a new kiosk at Sydney by Christmas.

To find out how the SmartGate system works, you can check out this page, but basically, when you get to one of the airports where it operates, you look for the SmartGate kiosk located at passport control, place your passport in the reader and answer the standard declaration questions using the touch screen. That issues you a SmartGate ticket, which you then use at the SmartGate itself at immigration, look at the camera while your photo is taken and compared to your passport, and then head to the baggage hall when you are passed through. Then at customs, you just hand over your declaration card and incoming passenger card, and be on your way.

I always love measures that get me in and out of airports faster, so I’m glad that Australia and the US are launching this partnership. The last thing I want to do after getting off a 15-hour flight is stand in an endless line, so this makes arriving in Australia that much more attractive. I hope this is just the first of many other new partnerships like this that will streamline international travel and put an end to those long immigration lines so we all have more time to enjoy the destination.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Sam Wolfe

    Nice! What about an Australian passport with Global Entry / NEXUS. Would that work?

  • Eric

    Unfortunately not, this is just on the Australian side of things.

  • Shane

    It’s not as much of a benefit as it sounds. It will get you through immigration slightly faster, but to be honest immigration is always pretty efficient in Australia for all passengers – especially compared to the US. The real potential delays on arriving in Australia comes from customs (after collecting your bags) where this will not help you if they decide to screen your bags – and they screen a LOT of them. But considering this is a “free” benefit – you can’t complain.

  • Stephen

    wow points guy – feels like i’m listening to a commercial sometimes – can you at least pretend that you aren’t shilling for these companies

  • ImmiLawyer

    If you hold an APEC card as well, good things happen.

  • Lucinda

    I’m disappointed by the age requirement. My family of three has global entry, including my toddler. Does this mean (since he is under 16) that we can’t go through the SmartGate? We are planning a trip to Sydney next year.

  • bigr3dbears

    how about a credit to other blogger who found and posted it before you?

  • MSPpete

    Looking forward to trying this out Nov 25. There also are some indications i found that New Zealand will also allow GE at their SmartGates soon!

  • thepointsguy

    I got the same email he did from global entry so why would I hat tip? I write posts in advance and schedule them so just because it gets published after another blogger doesn’t mean I got the inspiration from them

  • thepointsguy

    You got me..I’m shilling for trusted traveler!

  • Sam Wolfe

    Just an update: The Australian passport alone (with smart chip) worked.

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