Dubai - Soon, say goodbye to multiple eye scans at Dubai airport

Dubai - Soon, say goodbye to multiple eye scans at Dubai airport
Dubai - Soon, say goodbye to multiple eye scans at Dubai airport

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - No need to wait in long queues any more.

Frequent foreign visitors to Dubai will "soon" be able to avoid waiting in a queue for an eye scan at the airport, which is a mandatory security check procedure.

An automatic registration system enabled by advanced cameras will carry out the eye scan of all passengers, easing the passenger flow and saving their time, senior officials told WAM.

Passengers' biometric data (iris and facial recognition features) will be recorded and stored on the system automatically on their first entry through Dubai Airports. This means on their second visit onwards they will not need to go through an eye scan again.

"We are launching the new system under the directives of His Highness Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to develop services in all government entities and institutions for achieving the first rank in customer services," Major General Mohammed Al Marri, Director General of GDRFA Dubai, said.

Brigadier Talal Al Shanaqeti, General Director of Airport Passport Affairs Sector at the GDRFA Dubai, said, "At present, visitors have to go through eye scan each time they enter the UAE and there is a designated counter for this purpose at border control.

"Foreigners having a residence visa in the UAE do not need to undergo this process at border control, as their biometric data have already been taken and stored on the UAE's official database as part of the Emirates ID application process."

The passport control system compares the iris patterns of all arriving passengers in real-time against an enrolled central database, which helps the authorities to identify people who have already been banned from entering the UAE and take appropriate legal action against them, he explained.

The biometric verification using iris scan ensures that unwanted people cannot re-enter the UAE with new identities using forged travel document, the official pointed out.

"The new system will help visitors save their time while arriving at Dubai Airports, as they will not spend time for eye scan as an additional procedure. It will be done while they are walking through the passport control counter," Al Shanaqeti added.

He also said the GDRFA Dubai has already started installing the advanced new cameras for automatic registration at Terminal 3 - Arrivals. "We will soon install the new cameras in the other terminals," he said.

Noora Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of Future Borders Department at the GDRFA Dubai said, "At the moment, visitors who are eligible for visa-on-arrival have an option to register their biometric passports at the passport control counter and use Smart Gates that facilitate fast-track clearance."

One-hundred-and-twenty-two Smart Gates at four Dubai Airports terminals have already put an end to manual stamping on passports, as passengers themselves can scan the travel document and complete the passport control procedures within 9 to 15 seconds, Al Mazrouei said.

Even a Smart Tunnel in its trial phase has been deployed at terminal 3 [departure] at the Dubai International Airport, the first of its kind in the world. It facilitates passport control procedure within 10 seconds, as passengers have to simply walk through the tunnel without showing or scanning the travel document, she pointed out.

Smart Tunnel is open to business and first class passengers only at this trial stage, which will be expanded to other classes in future. Now, Emiratis, GCC nationals, foreigners having a UAE residence visa, and visitors who get a visa-on-arrival are eligible to register for the smart services and use the Smart Gates, she added.

How will the automatic registration system work

>Passengers' iris and facial recognition features will be recorded and stored on the system automatically on their first entry through Dubai Airports.

>On their second visit onwards, they will not need to go through eye scan again

>The passport control system compares the iris patterns of all arriving passengers in real-time against an enrolled central database

>This helps the authorities to identify people who have already been banned from entering the UAE

>The new system will complete the eye scan while passengers are walking through the passport control counter

Smart systems at Dubai Airports

Smart Gates: Four Dubai Airports terminals have a total of 122 Smart Gates that allow residents scan their documents and complete the passport control procedures. In addition, visitors who are eligible for visa-on-arrival have an option to register their biometric passports at the passport control counter and use Smart Gates. Emiratis, GCC nationals, foreigners having a UAE residence visa and visitors who get a visa-on-arrival are eligible to register for the smart services and use the Smart Gates.

Smart Tunnel: In its trial phase, the Smart Tunnel at Terminal 3 facilitates passport control procedure within 10 seconds as passengers have to simply walk through the tunnel without showing or scanning the travel document. Currently, it is open to business and first class passengers only.

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