Airport Hacks: How To Avoid Long Lines At NAIA

Cut queuing times by using the e-gate machines at NAIA.

Photo by Normand Fernandez /

Photo by Normand Fernandez /

To ease the passenger congestion at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Immigration has installed electronic gate (e-gate) machines at the airport’s arrival areas. The e-gates use advanced security features, including facial recognition, biometric scanning and smart card recognition.

This technology will first serve those who carry biometric Philippine passports. Senior citizens in wheelchairs and other persons with disabilities (PWDs) will still need to go through the regular counters manned by immigration officers.

There are currently 21 e-gates in the country—five each in NAIA Terminals 1 and 3, three in NAIA Terminal 2, two in Davao and three each in Cebu and Clark. There are plans to install up to 40 more e-gates in other local airports in 2019.

When properly used, the e-gates help cut processing time to about eight to 15 seconds per passenger, making a big difference in the efficiency of NAIA’s arrival procedures.

How to use the e-gates

  1. For smooth access, prepare your boarding pass and machine-readable passport.
  2. Place the barcode section of your boarding pass on the machine for scanning. Then, scan your passport’s information page. Once the machine verifies that your boarding pass and passport info match, the gate will open.
  3. The next step is biometric scanning. Make sure you aren’t wearing headgear, spectacles, sunglasses or a face mask. Place your right index finger on the fingerprint scanner and look straight at the camera screen as it takes your photo. After a few seconds, an on-screen notification will let you know if you’ve been cleared.
  4. Get the immigration sticker from the exit slot and place it on a page of your passport. Should any issues arise, an officer will come to assist you.

This article first appeared in the May 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

Written by

Kate Alvarez

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