Australian Government - Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

To protect Australia's borders and foster lawful trade and travel.

SmartGate frequently asked questions

What if I hold dual or multiple passports?

To use SmartGate you must use the same passport that you use at check-in overseas so that your details match. For Australian citizens, this means you must use your Australian passport, even if you use a foreign passport overseas.

What is face recognition technology?

Face recognition technology works by mapping the underlying bone structure of the face. For example, the distances between eyes, nose, mouth and ears. The measurements are then digitally coded to be used for comparison and verification purposes. With SmartGate, a mathematical formula is used to determine whether the photo of the traveller's face matches their ePassport photograph.

Why is Customs and Border Protection using face recognition technology?

Face recognition is considered the least intrusive biometric measure and has a high degree of accuracy when used for one-to-one matching. The ePassport photograph provides a portable biometric identifier, meaning the traveller does not have to enrol or register. A Customs and Border Protection officer can also undertake manual backup without needing to be a fingerprint or iris recognition expert.

Will I be processed faster using SmartGate?

It will depend on the number of travellers using SmartGate. SmartGate makes passport control a more efficient process in terms of processing the total number of travellers and should result in reduced queue times for many travellers.

Can I use SmartGate if I have a disability?

Yes. SmartGate is an option for some disabled travellers. SmartGate is wheelchair accessible and passengers should have no problem navigating through the exit as it has been designed wide enough for wheelchair passengers.

Can I wear glasses or hats?

Sunglasses and hats should always be removed. Prescription glasses can be left on if you are wearing them in your passport photo and if the rims of your glasses are relatively thin. If possible, remove thick rimmed glasses as SmartGate can have difficulties during face matching.

What happens if I change my hairstyle or weight? Will I be able to use SmartGate next time?

No. SmartGate has been designed to allow for small changes in appearance.

What happens after I pass through SmartGate?

As a SmartGate user you are still subject to all existing customs, immigration and quarantine requirements. You will need to present a completed Incoming Passenger Card and your SmartGate ticket to a Customs and Border Protection officer in the arrivals hall once you have collected your luggage. You must continue to declare any goods subject to government prohibitions or restrictions.

Do I still need my Incoming Passenger Card?

Yes. You will need to hand your completed Incoming Passenger Card and SmartGate ticket to a Customs and Border Protection officer after you have collected your luggage.

What is the SmartGate ticket?

The SmartGate ticket is evidence that you have used SmartGate to cross the border. You will need to retain this ticket and present it with your completed Incoming Passenger Card to a Customs and Border Protection officer after you have collected your luggage.

Will my passport be stamped?

No. Legislation has changed so that you no longer need your passport to be stamped if you use SmartGate to cross the border. However, if you wish to obtain a stamp, you can ask a Customs and Border Protection officer.

If SmartGate doesn't work for me, will I have to join the back of the manual queue?

No. If you cannot complete the process at either the kiosk or the gate you will be directed to a SmartGate assistance desk to be manually processed by a Customs and Border Protection officer.

What if I have an ePassport and my friend has a normal passport, do we have to separate to clear passport control?

Your friend will not be able to use SmartGate. If you want to stay together, you will need to join the manual processing queue.

I'm travelling with Australian children who are under 16 years of age, can I use SmartGate?

Yes. Australian children aged 10-15 years old can use SmartGate provided they are accompanied by a minimum of two adults in the group. This ensures children and teenagers in this category do not become separated from adults during the ‘first and last’ process.

The ‘first and last’ process requires one adult to present and clear through SmartGate, followed by the 10-15 year old and then the second adult.

If you are travelling with children under the age of 10 years old, Customs and Border Protection recommend that you stay together and are processed by one of our officers.

Does SmartGate record any data? For example, does it record the fact that I have cleared Customs and Immigration today?

Yes. SmartGate records the same information that a Customs and Border Protection officer records.

What about my privacy?

All personal data we collect via SmartGate (including the photograph) is treated in the same way as the personal information collected manually upon arrival. Customs and Border Protection takes steps to store personal information securely, prevent its unauthorised use and maintain its accuracy. Customs and Border Protection will only use or disclose the personal information for the purpose for which it was collected or as otherwise required or authorised by law, including where the information is required by other law enforcement or border control authorities.

Where can I obtain further information on SmartGate?

Contact the Customs and Information Support Centre via email or call 1300 363 263.