I received a very interesting email today from the UK Home Office (presumably they’ve collected my email address from either my visa application form or the landing cards I have to fill out every time I enter the UK).
Border Force have launched a new service called Registered Traveller to give faster and more convenient entry to the UK for nationals from certain countries, including USA, Australia, Japan, Canada and New Zealand.
- Access to ePassport gates at airports across the UK (if you have a biometric passport)
- Use of the UK / EU queue at specified ports
- A dedicated Registered Traveller lane at Gatwick Airport
- Not needing to complete a landing card on arrival to the UK
- Not having to undergo an interview with a Border Force officer on each arrival
- Won’t have to provide fingerprints on each arrival if you are a visa holder
You can use the Registered Traveller service at Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Stansted, Luton, Birmingham, East Midlands, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as Paris, Brussels and Lille (Rail Terminals).
You have to be 18 years of age or older and hold a valid visa to become a Registered Traveller (see the gov.uk website for further information on eligibility). The service is not available to general tourists unless you have visited at least 4 times in the last 52 weeks.
It all sounds fantastic so far but the downside is that you have to pay £70 for this service. This includes a non-refundable £20 administration fee. The remaining £50 is for 12 months membership should you be accepted on to the service. You then have to pay £50 again each year if you want to renew the service. Additionally, if you become a member and you get a new passport, you’ll need to pay £20 to update your passport details.
Personally, I think the cost for this service is a bit of a joke. In Australia, UK passport holders can use the ePassport gates without having to pay for the privilege so I don’t know why that service is not reciprocated. But that being said, I am still considering paying to become a Registered Traveller. I travel abroad multiple times a year and I dread the long queues at immigration every time I re-enter the UK. I’ve always said that there needs to be a better system for those of us with the right to live in the UK. My next trip outside the UK isn’t until September so I’ve got a bit of time to think it over.
What are your thoughts on this new service? Will you be signing up to become a Registered Traveller?