Transforming immigration and border crossing in Colombia with Automated Border Control

Last updated: 30 January 2019

Anyone who’s travelled outside their country knows the drill: after a long and exhausting day of travel, you arrive home only to endure another long wait in the airport immigration queue. The fast-pace of globalization is making it ever more challenging for airports and customs authorities worldwide to maintain safety and security while simultaneously simplifying and speeding up immigration.

Such is the case for arrivals at Colombia’s El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, the third busiest airport in Latin America after Sao Paulo and Mexico City, with more than 31 million passengers in 2017. Nearly 60% of travelers arriving at Bogota are Colombian citizens re-entering the country, which means that queues at border control can get quite long.

The good news is that there are innovative and powerful digital solutions to address this challenge.

To speed up the immigration control process for Colombian citizens, we have been working with the Colombia Border Control Agency, Migracion Colombia, to install ABC Gates. Our gates combine expertise in document verification and passenger biometric authentication with an optimized and modular solution to automate border control. ABC Gates provide greater flexibility with regards to airport floor and passenger flow management and processing passengers faster.

How do e-Gates work?  

Gemalto e-Gates automate the ID verification process through facial recognition that allows a seamless, less intrusive and faster experience, even for first-time users. The state-of-the-art passenger authentication software leverages biometric data contained in the ePassport and captured live at the gate, and can perform the ID verification within seconds.

The ABC solution in Colombia, known as “BIOMIG”, verifies personal identity through iris recognition technology, which improves the comfort, speed and ease of use for users. Colombian passengers benefit from a solution that integrates a highly intuitive iris recognition that allows capture from 35 to 45 centimeters away. This system allows for speedy entrance into the country while maintaining strict security during the immigration process.

Border control Colombia


Furthermore, the e-Gates at EL Dorado International Airport benefit from a one-person detection system that identifies intrusion, piggyback and tailgating. It also uses transparent material which facilitates visual control through the doors, while improving the passenger experience.

How secure are e-Gates?

Gemalto e-Gates leverage self-service and biometrics to automate and expedite border crossing at airports. They are already widely deployed across Europe and the Middle East, and to some extent in Asia. This technology is designed with security front of mind. e-Gates are built with the ability to:

  • Ensure document security by detecting fraud with high quality checks on the electronic chip, document security features and photo/ data integrity
  • Check that the passenger is the rightful owner of the document by matching the biometric data captured in the ePassport with the one the passenger presents at the e-Gate
  • Perform risk assessment through automated comparison of identity against text-based and biometric control/ alert lists.

3 key benefits of e-Gates

To face the challenge of increasing traffic while, at the same time, respecting financial and operational constraints, it is crucial that airports and border control authorities implement durable and low-cost solutions. The e-Gate solution addresses the challenge of minimizing and simplifying immigration procedures at airports while improving ease, speed and convenience for end users. With the benefits of fluid preventive maintenance, our solution has the best Machine Cycle Before Failure rate (MCBF) on the market. As a result, airports save on maintenance and replacement costs for a quick recovery of financial investment. The three key benefits of ABC include:  

  • Flexible and modular – The ABC solution presents a choice of form factors to adapt to the floor space, control level and future evolutions in passenger traffic. These include: one door, 2-door ABC gate, integrated or segregated control process, ABC kiosks.
  • Fastest facial recognition – ABC is designed to have passengers look intuitively towards the camera as to capture their face on-the-fly and provide fast matching results. Enabled with best in class face recognition software, the ABC gates allow for identity matching in less than 2 seconds.
  • Best Document Authentication – The ABC Gates are equipped with worldwide-recognized document readers and with a document authentication software allowing to manage updates from one central post, and automatically delivered in the field. Border guards can add new travel documents to the eligible list, and add or modify verification actions

Biometrics and ABC Gates are not only improving the immigration experience, but the overall airport experience, because by not having to wait in line passengers have more time to spend around the retail stores and leisure facilities in airports, which is a strong revenue booster for airports.

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