Dubai airports unveils ‘smart tunnels’ for faster passport control

General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai has launched the pilot phase of Smart Tunnel at Dubai Airports’ Terminal 3 to enable Emirates Airlines passengers to finish passport control procedures in less than 15 seconds.

The initiative, a first of its kind in the world, is currently available to first and business class travelers of Emirates Airlines.

How the system works

As per the new system, the traveller simply have to walk through the tunnel and look at the camera, equipped with biometric recognition technology.

The Smart Tunnel assesses passengers data accurately using machine learning in order to facilitate and accelerate the process of transit through Dubai airports without the need to use any travel documents or boarding card as in the use of “smart gates”.

The tunnel will work hand in hand with the smart gates, equipped with latest face-recognition software, that allow residents to use their Emirates ID or registered passports to get through without encounters with passport control officers.

Who is eligible for this

Smart gate users are automatically eligible to use the smart tunnel as their information is already registered.

However, passengers who haven’t used the smart gates will have to register their information at one of the two dedicated kiosks or the registration counter beside the passport control section. Another counter will soon be introduced before the tunnel.

Passengers who currently use the tunnel first time need to get their passport verified after they walk through for now since the project is still in its testing phase. However they do not need to do this step the second time they walk through the tunnel.

During the testing phase, it is available only for Emirates Airlines first and business class passengers at Dubai Airports’ Terminal 3.

Steps involved in the system

1. Register your information at the counter or through the two registration kiosks placed before passport control section of Dubai Airports. Smart gates users are automatically eligible to use the tunnel.
2. Once eligible and registered, passengers will receive a smart board on their boarding card.
3. Approach the smart tunnel.
4. As you walk through inside the tunnel, look at the camera, equipped with smart biometric recognition technologies.
5. Exit the tunnel.
6. You will get your passport verified after you leave the tunnel. This is a temporary step since the project is still in the testing phase.
7. Once cleared, you’re ready to leave the country without encounters with passport control officers.

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