[Part 4] Passports and everything you (didn’t) know about them – eGate





We have all been in a situation, while waiting in line for passport control, to ask ourselves whether to use the eGate and get out of the slowest queue in the world and cut the wait. But there was always a doubt – will we be able to successfully pass through eGate without setting off alarms and getting surrounded by all customs officers and police officers from the airport? Because how does eGate even work?

So far, we have been acquainted in detail with all pages of our passport, especially with the one where our personal data are located, as well as with the whole process of determining and verifying the identity of passengers at the border crossing. We have seen that it is almost impossible to read our passport data without authorization, and now is the time to demystify another process – identity verification at eGate checkpoints.

As we mentioned in previous texts, in most cases, identity verification is performed by a border police officer. However, you can do this process completely on your own. The only thing that will monitor you and eventually allow you to pass is the electronic gate, that is. eGate.


What exactly is eGate?


eGate is an automated self-service border control system that uses data stored in the chip of your biometric passport to determine whether you, who are enclosing your passport, are the true owner of that travel document. This automated system uses passport readers and a camera as a replacement for a border guard to establish a person’s identity. They usually look like kiosks with “doors” or barriers that open when the authentication process is successfully completed.


How is eGate used?

When you access eGate, the process itself begins in an identical way as if you were at a counter, except that you are now completely alone. But no worries, you just need to follow the instructions of the very intelligent machine in front of you.


The first thing to do when accessing the electronic gate is to open your passport and place the data page on the passport reader. eGate reads the data from your data page and compares it with the database, as does the border guard, all with the aim of determining whether that data matches. If all goes well, the first door opens. You enter the door that closes immediately behind you, and at that moment you are in a confined space resembling a cabin. In this part of the limited space, eGate reads your biometric data from the chip in the passport and uses the camera or scanners to “read” the same data from the person at the crossing, and thus compare the data. If you have followed our texts regularly, you know that there are three types of biometric data that can be found on the chip itself, which means that you can confirm your identity in three ways.


Image scan


The first way is for the eGate to compare the image scanned from passport with your face using face-matching technology. If the authentication is successful, it lets you through another door and then you can exit.


Iris scan


In addition to face-matching technology, another way of establishing identity includes iris matching technology. This method of verification is a newer method of establishing identity that relies on the complex structure of the human eye. It is interesting that the iris specifically has about 200 details that can be used for comparison!


Fingerprint scanning


The third type of identification is fingerprint comparison. So, when you enter a confined space, you are required to put your finger on the scanner and then a comparison is made between your fingerprint and the fingerprint in your passport. If they match, congratulations! You are free! The second gate will open and you will be able to pass freely.

If for any reason eGate does not allow the passage, no worries, the border guard will come to you and check, so you will not be helplessly stuck at the crossing.

With this article, we have reached the end of our saga about passports and everything you should know about them! At first glance, it often seems that these very important booklets and biometric data belong to a very complicated universe. That is why we tried to bring you closer to that world and share with you numerous interesting things that are hidden behind the cover of our dear companion. See you very soon with new information. Until then, if you have the opportunity to travel somewhere in the near future – check once again (if you brought) your passport!

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