‘The amendments will reduce the processing burden for travellers at international ports using a SmartGate (or other authorised system) by removing the requirement to present a physical passport if details of their passport are already held electronically and can be used to establish identity’.
The new Migration Amendment (Seamless Traveller) Regulations 2018 commenced on 17 November 2018. Its explanatory statement contains the following passages:
In particular, the amendments will reduce the processing burden for travellers at international ports using a SmartGate (or other authorised system) by removing the requirement to present a physical passport if details of their passport are already held electronically and can be used to establish identity.
Prior to these amendments, an image of the traveller’s face and shoulders had to be compared with the image and details in the physical passport to establish identity, citizenship and visa status, as applicable. Under these amendments, in certain circumstances, the image of the person’s face and shoulders can instead be compared with electronic passport details already held, saving the inefficient burden of presenting the physical document and more quickly clearing travellers in increasingly busy ports. For non-citizens, the electronic passport details are obtained the first time a person travels on that passport. For Australian citizens, these details may be obtained either the first time a person travels on that passport or they may also be able to be obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The physical passport will still be required in some circumstances, for example, if identity or visa status cannot be established using the new method or if there are integrity or other issues. The physical passport will also be required at ports that have not rolled out the new technology and in circumstances where travellers are processed manually (by a clearance officer).
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