Immigration airport smartgates photos and e-visas

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Jimbob
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Immigration airport smartgates photos and e-visas

Post by Jimbob »

I recently passed through Dubai airport immigration to join a cruise to
Singapore. It was the usual long queue to passport control and finally got to the immigration ‘Smartgate’, put my E-passport into the gate slot but was informed that the gate’s image of me did not match my E-passport. I was discreetly asked by a man in a nice white dish-dash to follow him to a side office to give a ‘please explain’. It dawned on me that I had a recent eyelid repair operation to the corner of my right eye, maybe it looked too different to the two year old passport image. Abul took a few more photos to compare the ‘before and after’ shots. He was happy with the surgery explanation and the passport was stamped: free to go Sir. Phew. I am amazed how the camera facial recognition was so fussy. I’m sure black eyes or facial injuries and cosmetic surgery would now require some explaining when confronting Smart-gates. I then passed through the ports of Mumbai, Colombo, Malaysia, Singapore and Australian Smartgate passport control without incident. Maybe UED has the latest Chinese facial recognition software. Not all smartgates are equal.

My other frustrating experiences were applying for online E-visas. These ETA fees seem like nice little earners for countries.
INDIA: $25 USD for 30 days visit ‘visa before arrival’.
Sri Lanka:$ 52 USD 30 days visit ‘visa before arrival’
Indonesia $52 30 days visit ‘visa before arrival’
All these countries had very different on line application systems so it required a mindset of what do they want and not expect a sensible process. Some required actual phone camera shots or photos of the passports. Many fellow passengers complained it took many hours to finally get online visas.
Malaysia and Singapore must complete electronic sign-in before arrival.
An Israeli couple were removed from the ship in Columbo because they were using American passports only recently issues. The Indonesian immigration team on board would not let continue to our next port of Sabang, Indonesia.
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