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Travelers flying between Australia, NZ to face single passport check

08-01-2011 15:14 BJT

WELLINGTON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Travelers between Australia and New Zealand will face only one set of border controls through the integration of an automated passport check, which began trialing on Monday.

The trial allows some travelers to complete the Australian arrivals process in New Zealand if they use the SmartGate system, which uses data stored in a microchip in passport and face recognition technology to do the checks normally carried out by Customs officers.

The trial, which runs until July next year, will be available to Australian and New Zealand citizens aged 18 years and over, who hold an "e-passport" with the microchip travelling from Auckland International Airport to the Gold Coast Airport, in Queensland.

For the first time travelers will be able to bypass the SmartGate kiosk at the Gold Coast and go straight to the gate if they used SmartGate when departing from Auckland.

New Zealand Customs Minister Maurice Williamson and Australian Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor welcomed the launch of the SmartGate trans-Tasman trial.

Williamson said that the two governments shared the view that trans-Tasman travel should be "as much like a domestic (travel) experience as possible."

The trial was an example of the great working relationship between the New Zealand Customs Service and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, he said.

O'Connor said the SmartGate trans-Tasman trial aimed to make it easier and more efficient for travelers to "self-process" at passport control.

"SmartGate will also help to reduce queuing by creating a more seamless border processing experience. Given the success of SmartGate, both Australia and New Zealand have planned expansions of the program at several of their international airports," said O 'Connor.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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