Using IRIS to enter the UK
This page explains how to use our iris recognition immigration system (IRIS) to enter the UK.
You cannot use IRIS unless you are registered. Registration is closed.
If you are registered for IRIS, you can use the automated IRIS barriers at any UK airport terminal where they are installed. The barriers are in the immigration arrival halls and are signposted 'IRIS'. They are located as follows:
- Heathrow terminal 3: to the left of passport control.
- Heathrow terminal 5: in the centre of passport control.
When you registered for IRIS, we sent detailed information about what to do when you arrive at the IRIS barrier. You can also find guidance in our IRIS arrival guide, which you can download from the right side of this page.
If you are carrying bags or pulling a trolley case, you should keep them close to your body at all times as you enter the barrier. Once inside the barrier, do not move around. If you move, the sensors will not be able to light up the correct IRIS camera for you to look into.
When the IRIS camera lights up for you, you may use it as many times as necessary until you can pass through successfully. If you are unsuccessful, the glass entry doors will open and you may leave the barrier and re-enter to try again.
If you want to stop the process at any time while you are standing within the barrier, you can press the green button on the left of the IRIS camera and the glass entry doors will open so that you can leave. You should then take your passport to the border force officer to enter the UK in the normal way.
If you are wearing contact lenses that are coloured or patterned, you will need to remove them before passing through the barrier. However, you can continue to wear glasses (not sunglasses) and normal contact lenses.
Although you will not need to show your passport or travel document to pass through the IRIS barrier, you must still carry it when you travel to the UK. If the passport or travel document you used to register for IRIS is lost or stolen and you have obtained a new one, you must visit an IRIS enrolment room and ask the staff there to amend your record. Please do not send us your passport or travel document.
Travellers entering the UK using IRIS will not have their passports or travel documents stamped, because IRIS is a fully automated arrivals barrier. If you require a stamp from the border force officer, you should pass through passport control and have your passport or travel document marked as appropriate.
You will only receive a ticket from the IRIS barrier if you require written permission to enter the UK (known as 'leave to enter') and you are a national of a country whose citizens do not normally require a visa to enter the UK (known as 'non-visa nationals'). For example, if you are a visitor who does need permission to enter the UK and you are registered for IRIS, the IRIS barrier will print a written ticket that confirms your permission to enter each time you arrive. The ticket will show any conditions imposed on your permission to enter and will give the IRIS identity number and your own details that you gave when you registered.