Travellers to the UK will need to answer a set of “suitability questions” and have “automated border screening” without speaking to border force agents as part of the Home Office’s new immigration plans.
Home Secretary Priti Patel set out the plans today as part of the country’s new “contactless” digital border.
The Permission to Travel scheme will launch in 2023 and will require non-visa travellers who are not nationals or residents in the UK to hold an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), which is digital approval to travel to the UK.
Passengers will undergo pre-screening and be identified at the border via new technology. As part of that, they will need to give biographic, biometric and contact details, and answer “suitability” questions to apply for an ETA.
“This information will be checked against our systems and assessed to determine whether the person has permission to travel to the UK,” the plans stated.
The new scheme is part of The Nationality and Borders Act 2022. “As Home Secretary I have been focused of taking back control of our immigration system through my New Plan for Immigration,” Priti Patel said.
“This includes ensuring we have a border that is fit for the 21st century which allows travellers to get a visa and pass through the border easily, while maintaining national security.”
The scheme will initially launch in the first quarter of next year and be trialled to visitors from Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia before being expanded to the rest of the world.
“The future border will make it harder for those who pose a threat to enter the UK and make it easier for those who contribute to our economy to have a seamless experience through our border,” the Home Office said.
“Our ETA scheme will mean that it is easier for our friends to come to and contribute to the UK, but harder for those we do not want to come here.”