After the success of the Registered Travellers Scheme pilot, the scheme has now been rolled out permanently. The scheme allows registered members to get through UK border controls faster than they otherwise would be able to. For regular travellers this can be nothing but a welcome addition to UK immigration controls.

Benefits of becoming a registered member

  1. No need to fill in a landing card.
  2. Can use the ePassport gates if you have a biometric passport.
  3. Use faster entry lanes at:
    • Edinburgh airport;
    • Gatwick airport;
    • Glasgow airport;
    • Heathrow airport;
    • London City airport;
    • Manchester airport;
    • Stansted airport;
    • Brussels Eurostar terminal;
    • Lille Eurostar terminal; and
    • Paris Eurostar terminal.

Application criteria

An applicant must:

  1. be a citizen of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or the US;
  2. have visited the UK at least four times in the last 52 weeks;
  3. be at least 18 years old; and
  4. be either:
    • a “visitor”; or
    • a visa holder (includes all visas apart from Tier 5 Sporting and Creative Concessions; EEA family permit holders; those with discretionary leave to remain; and those with leave to remain that is outside of the immigration rules).

Application

Applications are made via the online system.

Costs

To become a registered member costs £70 for the year (£50 of which will be returned if the application is unsuccessful). There is a further £20 fee for members who get a new passport and consequently need their membership details updating. There is, however, no further fee incurred for updating visa details.

Approval and activation of membership

Membership approval can take up to 10 working days and activation of membership occurs at the UK border when the traveller next visits the UK.

Evidence of membership

Members will be provided with a card to use as proof of membership. It is advised that, upon the first use of the scheme, members take a printout of the email confirming the success of their application as further evidence.

As with any relatively new scheme there will of course be teething issues. Potential areas of challenge that have already been identified are (1) integrating this new service with the current systems in place and (2) managing the transition and renewal of pilot members to the new permanent scheme. However, according to statistics published by the Government, overall user satisfaction with the scheme (from October 2014 until May 2015) was, at its lowest, 85.3 per cent – a very high percentage for such a new scheme.