UK to use iris-reading immigration equipment
30 June 2005
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The UK Immigration Service has decided to use the latest iris scanning technology to provide a faster, more convenient way to clear immigration. Called"IRIS" (an abbreviation for Iris Recognition Immigration System), the new technology works by taking a picture of the individual's unique iris pattern, in order to speed up identification at the port of entry and thereby reduce passenger queuing.
Enrolled passengers will be able to enter the UK through a special automated immigration control barrier incorporating an iris recognition camera. The barrier will be located in the Immigration Arrivals Hall and will form part of Immigration and Passport Control. Once the individual is recognised by the database, the barrier will open and the individual will be allowed entrance to the UK without having to queue to see an Immigration Officer.
IRIS is aimed at foreign travellers who are temporarily or permanently resident in the UK and who travel to the UK frequently, including business travellers, work permit holders, overseas students, dependants, and returning residents. Currently, foreign travellers will be aware that clearing immigration can take a considerable length of time, due to the need to queue to see an Immigration Officer. Once an individual has registered to use IRIS, they will not need to queue to see an Immigration Officer ever again.