The Home Office has announced the expansion of its Registered Traveller Service to include 16 additional countries.
Membership will now be open to passengers from:
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
The changes take effect Monday 21 November 2016.
According to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, the change is part of the government’s commitment to making it ‘easier for businesses across the world to do business with the UK’.
We expect a further announcement about the Registered Traveller Service being made available to certain categories of traveller from India, following Theresa May’s comments earlier this month.
What is the Registered Traveller Service?
The Registered Traveller Service gives approved members fast-tracked UK border entry.
Approved members are not required to fill in a landing card, and will be able to use the ePassport gates if they hold a biometric card. They will also have access to the faster entry lanes at most large UK city airports and the Brussels, Lille and Paris Eurostar terminals.
Currently the Registered Traveller Service has more than 67,000 members, and is available to passport holders from the following countries:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Korea
How do you apply for the Registered Traveller Service?
To become an approved member of the Registered Traveller Service, you must hold an eligible passport, and
- have a visa/entry clearance (not including EEA family permits, discretionary leave, leave outside the immigration rules and Tier 5 concession (Creative and sporting) visas) or
- have visited the UK at least four times in the past two years e.g. for business, education, tourism or medical treatment.
To apply, you must undergo advanced security checks via an online application.
You will need your passport number and expiry date to hand, as well as your debit or credit card to pay the fee.
You will typically hear the decision within 10 working days.
What does it cost to become a Registered Traveller?
It costs £70 to use the service for 1 year. If your application is unsuccessful you will be reimbursed £50.
Renewal for a further 12 month period is £50.
Who would benefit from the Registered Traveller Service?
If you are an organisation with a number of Tier 2 employees that are required to travel frequently, the Registered Traveller Service could be a worthwhile investment to minimise valuable time spent queuing at the border, and avoid the repetitive Border Force credibility interview for each visit.
The service can also benefit international Tier 4 students who frequently return home.
We are experienced advisers to businesses and individuals on immigration options, visa application processes and mobility requirements. If you have any queries relating to your immigration needs, please get in touch.