One of the things that we write about often on the Travel Insure blog is how to avoid the frustrations in travel. In some cases, it’s unavoidable – everyone has to go through the same TSA line in one form or another. In other cases – like international travel – you can make it easier with NEXUS and Global Entry. Now, it appears that the Government of Australia is also going to make it easier for American travelers visiting the country with the SmartGate System.
I caught wind of this from Johnny Jet’s blog and after reading into it, it looks quite brilliant.
Here’s how it works:
- If you are a U.S. Trusted Traveler (member of Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, or other Trusted Traveler program) and hold an ePassport (it’s the passport with the microchip inside), you can use the SmartGate system.
- Simply approach the SmartGate once you arrive at the airport, make your declarations on a touchscreen, and receive a SmartGate ticket.
- From there, approach the facial recognition kiosk, insert your ticket and hold still while the computer compares you to the picture on your passport. If everything checks out, you’ll pass through the gate, collect your luggage and finish your customs experience with an Australian Customs Officer.
I really like this new technology for a multitude of reasons. First, it cuts down on the stress of getting into the country after a very long transcontinental flight for trusted travelers. For the many law-abiding visitors entering the country, it makes getting through the system a lot easier. Additionally, if this trial system works, then I see a lot of potential for making it easier to get into other countries as well. This is something that I will be keeping an eye on in the near future.
Of course, there are things you’ll still need to do before you make the trip to Australia. In order to even set foot in the country, you will need to apply for a Visa ahead of time. If you don’t have your Visa approved before you make it to Australia, you can be returned to your home country very easily – on the next available flight, in fact. And if you’re not a member of one of the trusted traveler programs, then you’ll have to go through the long line with everyone else. But if you’re already a frequent traveler – especially to foreign countries – why wouldn’t you become a member of Global Entry? It gets you through Customs faster and may allow you access to TSA Pre✓™ which can get you through security a whole lot faster.
My thanks to Johnny Jet for sharing this – if you’re not reading his blog, you should! Are you planning on using this technology your next time to Australia? Let me know if this changes your travel plans in the comments below!