Get through passport control quickly

Grab your passport, because if you’re flying from Schiphol or if you’ve just landed, you could certainly use this tip. You can save time by being familiar with how to use the eGates at the self-service passport control. At these gates you scan your passport yourself and a camera recognises your face. Read how it works in this blog.

Look at your passport

First, take a look at the front of your passport to see it has the e-symbol icoon paspoort. This symbol means you have a biometric passport with chip. This kind of passport allows you to use the eGates: automatic facial recognition at passport control. At Schiphol, you need to have an EU passport or a passport from selected countries. Please note: you must be aged 14 or above to use this service. If you’re travelling with children, you cannot use the eGates.

Using the eGates at Schiphol

If you are flying from Schiphol to a country outside of the Schengen Zone, you’ll go through passport control. A biometric passport allows you to go through the eGates. This is how it works:

Step 1: After the security check you’ll automatically arrive at passport control. Check where the (queues for the) eGates are by looking for a yellow sign saying Self-service passport control. Join the queue here.

Step 2: Take your passport out of your bag while you’re waiting. If it’s in a passport holder, take it out. Get your passport ready at the page your photo is on.

Step 3: Take off your sunglasses, hat or cap and make sure your face is fully showing. It’s also a good idea to take your scarf off so that the scanner will be able to compare your face with the photo in your passport more easily.

Step 4: Your turn? Enter the gate and place your passport photo side down on the scanner. It can take several seconds for your passport to be scanned.

Step 5: Stand where the footprints are on the ground and look into the camera. You’ll see your face on the screen. Stand still and keep looking into the camera as it takes your photo and compares it with the information in your passport.

Step 6: When the scanner has recognised you, the gate will open automatically. Take your passport and walk through the gate to continue your journey.

If the gate doesn’t open, a Royal Marechaussee officer will come and check your passport manually.

How Schiphol eGate works

Photo of your face

When using the eGates, a photo will be taken of your face. This photo will only be used for facial recognition at border control. After 24 hours, it will be deleted from the system.

Why are the eGates closed?

It is possible that you want to use the eGates, but that they are all closed and you need to join the All passports queue to have your passport checked manually. The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee sometimes closes one or more eGates temporarily. This could be due to several reasons:

  • At quieter times, such as at night or early in the morning, it can be more efficient to only carry out manual checks.
  • eGates regularly require a system update and when that occurs they are temporarily unavailable.
  • If there are a lot of travellers with children under the age of 14 or travellers from outside the EU who do not have biometric passports. They cannot use the eGates and so the Marechaussee has to carry out a lot more manual checks anyway.

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