Dubai airport’s Smart Gates explained: How to travel without taking out your passport

Is there a fee to use the service? Who can and cannot use the gates? All your questions answered

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A Staff Reporter

Published: Thu 9 Feb 2023, 1:12 PM

Last updated: Mon 27 Feb 2023, 1:20 PM

Passengers’ faces have been serving as their ‘passports’ at the Dubai International Airport’s (DXB) Terminal 3 for the past two years. DXB rolled out the ‘smart travel’ system that enables passengers to travel without using their identification papers in February 2021.

Utilising the latest biometric technology — a mix of facial and iris recognition — passengers are able to check in for their flights and complete immigration formalities without taking out any identification documents.

According to information available on the DXB website, arriving and departing passengers can clear passport control in a “matter of seconds” via the “enhanced Smart Gates” that feature a contactless process. The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) – Dubai states that verification is done via iris and biometrics information.

How to use the Smart Gates

Passengers who have registered for the Smart Gates can pass through by “simply looking at the green light, with no need to scan a document”, according to the DXB website.

The green light is found on top of the camera. Passengers must remove anything that covers their face, including masks, glasses and hats. “Keep your passport and boarding pass ready in case they are needed.”

GDRFA website adds: “In case you are unable to pass through the Smart Gate, you can return back to the immigration counter located behind it.”

Is there a fee to use the service?

No, the self-service does not require additional fees.

Who can use the Smart Gates?

Emiratis, expatriates, GCC nationals, and passengers with biometric passports who are eligible to get visa on arrival.

Who should not use the Smart Gates?

>> People of determination and passengers with large strollers.

>> Families with children.

>> Passengers who are under 15 years of age or less than 1.2 metres in height.

Who can’t use them?

According to the GDRFA, the following categories of passengers cannot use them:

- Pre-registered residents who stayed outside the UAE for six months or more.

- Pre-registered passengers with renewed passport and/or nationality.

How do passengers register?

According to DXB, passengers who have “recently arrived” are “likely to have been registered” when they entered the immigration touchpoint.


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