After months of speculation and anticipation, the e-gate system in Qatar has officially become free for all expats over the age of 18, officials have confirmed.
This means foreign residents flying into and out of Hamad International Airport can now use the automated service without signing up for it. This will help them skip long immigration queues.
All they have to do is present their Qatar ID cards or passports at HIA’s e-gate lines, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) said in a statement yesterday.
Notably, e-gate does not apply to children under the age of 18 years old, the MOI added.
Since at least October, dozens of people have said they were able to use e-gate by showing their IDs and having their fingerprints and eyes scanned at the airport.
But dozens of others have also followed the usual procedure of applying for the service.
This involved taking their ID cards and passports to the immigration department and paying QR200.
Now, this is no longer necessary.
Free e-gate for expats is part of a “smart passenger project” at the airport.
The aim has been to help passengers speed through travel procedures using technology.
Since April, officials have also been testing out other services, such as self-printing luggage tags and automating baggage drop to help cut waiting times.
The move comes as the airport struggles to operate beyond its capacity.
Staff shortages have also caused complaints about long lines, particularly at immigration for arriving/departing travelers and passport control for transit passengers.