Eurostar tests facial recognition to replace passports

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Eurostar tests facial recognition to replace passports
St Pancras. Image - Wiki

Rail service Eurostar will test using facial recognition technology that will allow travellers to go through immigrations without using their passport.

Rail service Eurostar will test using facial recognition technology that will allow travellers to go through immigrations without using their passport, allowing them to skip long queues for border control and checking in.

Passengers will have their faces scanned twice at London St Pancras station.

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A trial run in coordination with the Department for Transport will be carried out for two weeks in November 2021. This will initially see 200 people participating.

Travellers will be required to answer a series of questions and upload their documents to the Eurostar app before departure to be able to use the facial recognition technology.

Following the huge impact the health pandemic had on the French rail company, seeing Eurostar almost at the brink of collapse earlier in the year, French rail industry veteran Jacques Damas is promising to revive the rail operator’s fortunes.


This summer, Damas talked of his ambitions to give passengers the “tools” to avoid chaos at the borders as necessary checks, including those for Covid, are carried out.

“[If] each time you need 10 minutes for one single passenger, it cannot work,” he said.

The French government will not be taking part in the trial, meaning travellers will still need to show their passports to officials in the conventional way.


Passengers will clear French immigration at London St Pancras prior to departure.

However, this is still expected to significantly cut waiting times and make the service more appealing.

Eurostar will look into the results of the trial ahead of deciding whether to roll out the technology to all passengers on its services.


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Laura is from a small seaside town in North Wales and has also lived in Liverpool and Manchester, where she studied English Literature and worked in social media and marketing. Laura moved to the city of Zaragoza last August to teach English, but after missing the coast she decided to move to beautiful Nerja to enjoy the sun and sea. Laura has a passion for animals, films, outdoor activities, writing and the environment.

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