UNITED KINGDOM: Registered Traveller Service
The IRIS scheme was the forerunner of the "Registered Traveller" service (currently being piloted by the United Kingdom (UK) Border Force). The pilot service has now been expanded to include other immigration categories. The service allows those who were registered previously under IRIS to re-register. The service is not yet available to non-IRIS registered travelers.
The Registered Traveller service enables registrants to pass through the UK border more quickly. Registered travellers can use the UK/European Economic Area (EEA) queues at Heathrow Airport and a special lane at Gatwick Airport. The registered traveller does not need to fill in a landing card when flying into Heathrow or Gatwick airports.
The traveller does not need to have a biometric passport to join the service. Those having such passports, however, can use the epassport gates (automated passport control) at Heathrow and Gatwick. If the epassport gates are temporarily unavailable, or cannot read the passport, the traveller should use the UK/EEA queue at Heathrow and the special registered traveller lane at Gatwick.
A registered traveller must:
- Be a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or the United States;
- Have travelled to the UK 4 times or more in the last 52 weeks;
- Enter the UK using Gatwick or Heathrow airports after the UK Border Force provisionally accepts the traveller onto the service;
- Be 18 years of age or over; and
- Have been a member of the UK IRIS scheme.
The service is now available to people in these immigration categories:
- Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR);
- Tier 1 visa: Exceptional Talent/Promise;
- Tier 1 visa: Entrepreneur;
- Tier 1 visa: Investor;
- Tier 2 visa: all categories;
- Sports visitor;
- Business visitor;
- Entertainer visitor;
- Parents of children at school in the UK.
The Application Process
The application process includes filling out an online application and completing other steps when the traveller next arrives in the UK:
- When the Border Force receives an application to become a registered traveller, it will review the applicant for eligibility. The decision should be made within 10 working days.
- If the Border Force provisionally accepts the application, it will email instructions on how to complete membership. The Border Force will ask the traveller to print out the email and bring it on his or her next visit to one of the participating airports within 12 weeks. Currently, membership can only be completed at Heathrow and Gatwick.
- At the airport, the traveller should join the non-EEA/EU queue as normal, because the membership will not yet be complete at this stage. At the desk, the Border Force Officer will ask the traveller questions and ask to see the provisional confirmation of acceptance that was emailed to the traveller. The officer will then confirm the traveller's full Registered Traveller status.
- After this, the traveller will receive a second e-mail, normally within 10 working days, which will confirm full membership. The e-mail will include a small wallet-sized card, which the traveller can print out. The traveller should carry the card, or the confirmation of membership email, when traveling to the UK as proof of membership.
Arrangements at Different Airports
Arrangements for the service vary at different airports. At Heathrow, registered travellers can join the EU/EEA queue; at Gatwick they are directed to a special lane.
The service will be expanded to include more airports. Registered travellers will receive notices with details of these changes when they happen.
The traveller should use his or her passport to complete the application form because the details in the application must match those in the passport.
The service is currently free to join. An annual fee will be payable when the trial service closes in the summer of 2014.
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