Australia uses Facial Recognition at Airports


It’s called ‘SmartGate’.

SmartGates are being implemented at all major international airports in Australia. They use facial recognition technology to match your face to your ePassport.



Arrival in Australia

Only attempt to use SmartGate if you are eligible, otherwise go directly to the manual processing area, to present your passport to an officer. This is particularly important for people travelling with children, because in some cases the parent may be able to use SmartGate but the child may not.


  • You must have an ePassport – these have a small camera symbol at the bottom of the front cover. At present ePassport holders from the following countries are eligible to use SmartGates: Australia, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Macau, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
  • Non-Australian children under 16 cannot use SmartGates, they have to be manually cleared.
  • Australian children aged 10-15 can use SmartGates if accompanied by two adults who go first and last in the group with the children.


  • be sure that your name on your boarding pass is exactly the same as on your ePassport
  • complete your incoming passenger card before you arrive at the SmartGate

Using a SmartGate is a 2-step process.

Step 1

  • Find the SmartGate self-service kiosk
  • Put your ePassport into the self-service kiosk, face down open at your photograph page
  • Follow the on-screen prompts
  • Take the ticket it issues, you will need this at the SmartGate

Step 2

  • Walk to the SmartGate
  • Remove everything that covers/obscures your face (except thin rimmed glasses that you are wearing in your ePassport photo)
  • Insert your ticket into the SmartGate
  • Look straight ahead. Wait for the camera to take your photograph.
  • When the SmartGate opens, take your ticket. You will need to give this to an airport officer beyond the SmartGate.

If SmartGate doesn’t work for you, then you will need to be processed manually by an officer.


Departing Australia

The process seems simpler than for Arrivals.

  • Put your passport in the passport reader, it will be scanned and returned to you
  • Follow the on-screen instructions
  • Step into the SmartGate
  • Look at the camera and wait for the gate to open
  • Remember to take your bags with you

Australian citizens are reminded to always enter and leave Australia using your Australian passport.

Happy travels!

Adam Welch

My bio is at