The UK Government has recently introduced a new Registered Traveller scheme with the aim of giving frequent travellers to the UK an expedited and simpler entry through UK border control. This scheme replaces the previous IRIS scheme which was decommissioned in 2013.

At Heathrow and Gatwick passport control, nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or the USA that have registered with the service will:

  • be able to use the ePassport gates (with a biometric passport)
  • be able to use the UK/EU lanes at Heathrow or the Registered Traveller lanes at Gatwick
  • not need to fill in a landing card or undergo a credibility interview on each arrival

There is a simple online registration process with a non-refundable £50 fee, but travellers must have an invitation code to be able to apply. The initial release of codes has been limited to manage demand, but Taylor Wessing has been issued with a small allocation of codes to pass on to our frequent traveller clients. Invitation codes are also available from Border Force officers at Heathrow and Gatwick (we expect more airports to be added to the scheme over the next 12 months), and also from the major airlines.

Initially, the scheme is limited to citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or the USA. To qualify, travellers will also need to:

  1. have visited the UK four times or more in the previous 52 weeks;
  2. be 18 years of age or over; and
  3. be either a 'visitor' (business visitor, tourist, sports visitor, entertainer visitor, person seeking leave to enter as the parent of a child at school in the UK) or have one of the following visa permissions:
  • Tier 1 Investor, Tier 1 Entrepreneur or Tier 1 Exceptional Talent
  • Tier 2 ICT, Tier 2 General, Tier 2 Sportsperson or Tier 2 Minister of Religion
  • Indefinite leave to remain (ILR)

Membership approval takes up to 10 working days and will be activated at the UK border the next time the registered traveller visits the UK. Registration lasts for 12 months but can be renewed.