Friday, 17 May 2019

UK to scrap landing cards

The UK's Border Force is to scrap all landing cards for international passengers arriving in the UK from next Monday according to the BBC, it was announced at short notice on Thursday, May 16th.

Currently, landing cards are currently filled in by passengers arriving in the UK either by aircraft or ship and every year around 16 million are issued. These are used to record what is said to border staff on arrival as well as the reasons for travel and conditions of entry.    

There were already plans for the landing cards to be scrapped for people from seven countries, including Australia and the US. The Home Office had agreed to scrap them for seven countries, including the US and Australia, from June, but now the Home Office has decided to extend that to all passengers. 

Border Force director general Paul Lincoln, in a letter to staff, said it would "help meet the challenge of growing passenger numbers". The scrapping of the cards it likely to save the  £3.6 million a year the government spends on the landing card system as well as speeding up the process clearing through passport control.  Officials confirmed all passengers arriving from outside the EU will continue to be checked against police, security and immigration watch lists.

International passengers will also now be able to use the e-gates at passport control, currently, only UK passport holders can use the gates.

Heathrow Airport stated: "We warmly welcome this proposed change which would give visitors to Britain an improved experience, whilst maintaining a secure border into the UK. In post-Brexit Britain, it will be even more important to show we are open for business and make sure that we give investors, tourists and students a great welcome to our country."

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