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UK Border Force

Border Force secures the UK border by carrying out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the UK.

The UK Border Force

The UK Border Force secures the border and promotes national prosperity by facilitating the legitimate movement of individuals and goods, whilst preventing those that would cause harm from entering the UK. This is achieved through the immigration and customs checks carried out by our staff at ports and airports. Their officers work at 140 sea and air ports across the UK and overseas.

The Border Force is responsible for:

  • checking the immigration status of people arriving in and departing the UK
  • searching baggage, vehicles and cargo for illicit goods or illegal immigrants
  • patrolling the UK coastline and searching vessels
  • gathering intelligence
  • alerting the police and security services to people of interest.

Its priorities are to:

  • deter and prevent individuals and goods that would harm the national interests from entering the UK
  • facilitate the legitimate movement of individuals and trade to and from the UK
  • protect and collect customs revenues for trade crossing the border
  • provide excellent service to customers
  • provide demonstrable effectiveness, efficiency and value for money.

Find out more about the UK Border Force - external link


ePassport gates, which are currently available for British and EU nationals, provide a faster route through the border as they allow eligible passengers to be processed quickly and securely.  All passengers are automatically checked against Border Force systems and watch lists.  The technology also allows Border Force officers to focus on other priority work such as identifying potential victims of trafficking.

There are eGates at Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports which can be used by travellers who have a ‘chipped’ biometric passport, are aged 12 or over (under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult) and are a UK, EU, or EEA citizen.

From summer 2019, eligible travellers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States will also be able to use the ePassport gates.

This is part of a long-term programme of work to use the UK’s Exit from the EU as an opportunity to develop a new global border and immigration system that makes better use of data, biometrics, analytics and automation to improve both security and fluidity across the border.


Permitting nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States to use the ePassport gates will allow us to control our borders in a way that ensures they operate in the UK’s best interests and clearly demonstrates to the rest of the world that the UK is open for business.

Increasing the amount of people eligible to use the ePassport gates will have a transformational impact on the border experience providing faster entry to the UK, whilst also significantly improving queue times, at certain ports and at certain times for other passengers.

Find out about UK travel advice - external link