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UNITED KINGDOM: Launch of Registered Traveller Scheme

On September 24, 2013, the Home Office announced that the Registered Traveller Scheme is now effective. Selected individuals traveling to the UK as visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States can be processed as "Registered Travellers" provided they have traveled to the UK four or more times in a preceding 52-week period. They must also have previously been registered under the now defunct "IRIS" immigration registration system. The program will initially operate at Heathrow and Gatwick airports before being rolled out at other ports across the UK.

Once enrolled in the program, users will be eligible for expedited clearance at the border. They will be processed at the Immigration Desk similarly to the clearance process for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals, except that they will be given leave to enter every time they arrive at the UK border. They will also be able to access a faster-moving queue than the standard one for non-EEA nationals before reaching the Immigration Desk.

The nationalities eligible for the program were selected on the basis of low risk and high volume. The Home Office will review them on a regular basis. The period between now and April 2014 is a pilot phase and the program is expected to operate on a permanent basis beginning on April 1, 2014. An annual fee is expected to begin on that date, but in the meantime it is free.

Eligible individuals must APPLY ONLINE.

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