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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coming-to-the-uk/faster-travel-through-the-uk-border
During popular travel periods, such as school holidays or Christmas holidays, we expect to see an increase in the number of travellers entering the UK border.
We recommend that you follow the faster travel advice below to help us process you quickly and improve your experience at the UK border.
Arriving at the border
Always keep your passport and travel documents with you – don’t be tempted to pack them away in your luggage as you will need to show your passport on your arrival.
To avoid delays, when you arrive at UK passport control, please:
- remove your passport from its cover and have it open at the photo page
- take off any hats, headphones and sunglasses
- put mobile phones or tablets away when it’s time to see an officer
- stay together when travelling as a family
Advice for families travelling with different surnames
If you are travelling with children who have a different surname, you may be asked questions at the border to prove your relationship.
You can help by bringing with you the following documents:
- a birth or adoption certificate showing your relationship with the child
- divorce or marriage certificates if you’re the parent but have a different surname from the child
- a letter from the child’s parent or social worker giving permission for the child to travel with you
Use the ePassport gates for quicker entry
There are over 250 ePassport Gates in place at 22 air and rail ports in the UK to enable quicker travel into the UK.
Most people can use ePassport gates if they:
- have a biometric symbol on the cover of their passport
- are aged 12 or over (12-17 year olds must be accompanied by an adult)
- are a British, EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland citizen
- are a member of the Registered Traveller Service
Those travelling with ID cards cannot use the ePassport gates.
Bring your passport rather than an ID card
If you are an EEA citizen, you may find it faster to use your passport rather than your EEA national identity card at the UK border.
This is because:
- passports are faster for our Border Force officers to process
- you can use your EU passport at our eGates
Pay to FastTrack passport control at UK airports
You can pay a small fee to ‘fast track’ passport control checks if you are travelling through the following UK airports:
The cost per person and details of FastTrack services may vary by airport, please visit the relevant airport website to find out more.
Join Registered Traveller if you are an international traveller
If you have a valid passport from an eligible country, you can apply to become a Registered Traveller.
As a Registered Traveller you can use the UK/EU and ePassport lanes instead to speed up your entry through the UK border.
Border Force officers aim to clear the majority of UK and EEA nationals within 25 minutes and non-EU citizens within 45 minutes.
Travelling through an airport
On arrival into the airport, look out for the signs for where you should go and follow the instructions on display.
Watch our video which explains what you can expect at the border when you arrive into a UK airport.
Travelling through a seaport
For people in vehicles, please have your windows open and any curtains drawn so we can see into your vehicle.
You will need to show your passport and travel documents when requested.
If you are travelling by bike or motorcycle, please remove your helmet, including open-faced helmets.
If the Border Force officer can’t identify you or your passengers, this will delay your journey.
Travelling by coach or mini bus
All passengers must get off the coach or mini bus with their passports at border control so that a Border Force officer can check them face to face. Passengers should be prepared for crossing the border by:
- putting shoes and coats
- individually (including children) holding your own passport or travel document
- letting passport control know that you are the leader of the group
- leaving any food and drinks on the vehicle
- leaving all luggage on board; if Border Force needs to search the luggage this will be organised separately
Read our guide to entering the UK for more details about coming to the UK.