Iris Recognition Immigration System

Iris Recognition Immigration System

Iris Recognition Immigration System (IRIS) is an initiative to provide automated clearance through UK immigration for certain frequent travellers. IRIS relies on biometric technology to authenticate identity and is part of the e-borders initiative of the UK Government.


Enrolled passengers can enter the UK through a special automated immigration control barrier incorporating an iris recognition camera. These barriers are located in certain Immigration Arrival Halls and form part of Immigration and Passport Control.


Enrolment for the scheme is currently free and voluntary (December 2007). Enrolment takes place in the airport departure lounge where an Immigration Officer assesses eligibility and enrols qualifying persons. Those who qualify to participate in the scheme have both their eyes photographed in order to capture their iris patterns. This data is then stored securely alongside their personal details.

As of April 2008, IRIS is open at
*Birmingham Terminal 1
*Gatwick North & South
*Manchester Terminals 1 and 2
*Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.


Currently the following travellers are eligible to enroll:

* Persons over 18 years of age
* British citizen or people with a right of abode in the UK, or a national of an EEA State, or a Swiss national
* Permanent residents of the United Kingdom (e.g. Indefinite Leave to Remain)
* Valid entry clearance holders (Visa holders) with at least 2 months of validity left on the entry clearance
* Short term visitor entering the United Kingdom (not needing visas) who were granted entry as a visitor on at least two occasions in the last six months, or four occasions in the last 12 months
* Exempt from UK Immigration controls or permitted to enter or remain in the UK for more than six months and have more than two months left of that permission
* Family of EEA state or Swiss Nationals based in the UK or exempt from immigration controls and based in the UK

Further Information

* [ Official IRIS website at the UK Government]

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