Immigration Update: Launch of Registered Traveller Scheme

26 September 2013

On 24 September the Home Office announced the coming into force of the Registered Traveller Scheme which we previously wrote to you about on 5 June 2013. Selected individuals travelling to the UK as visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the USA can be processed as ‘Registered Travellers’ provided they have travelled to the UK four or more times in a preceding fifty two week period. They must also have previously been registered under the now defunct iris immigration registration system (IRIS). The Scheme will initially be in operation at Heathrow and Gatwick airports, before being rolled out at other ports across the UK in the future.

Once enrolled on the Scheme, users will be able to access expedited clearance processes at the border. They will be processed at the Immigration Desk in a way which is broadly in line with the clearance process for 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.

These nationalities have been selected on the basis on low risk and high volume. The period between now and April 2014 has been designated as a proof of concept phase for Registered Traveller and the intention is for it to operate on a permanent basis from 1 April 2014. The Home Office also intends for there to be an annual charge for the Scheme from this point but in the meantime it is free.

The nationalities covered by the arrangement will be reviewed by the Home Office on a regular basis.

Eligible individuals will need to apply online by clicking here.

Changes to ‘knowledge of language and life’ requirements

From 28 October, unless they are exempt, all applicants for settlement or naturalisation as a British Citizen will need to meet the knowledge of language and life requirement by:

  • Passing the life in the UK test; and
  • Having a speaking and listening qualification in English at B1 CEFR or higher, or its equivalent

For an application for citizenship to be considered under the pre 28 October requirements, the application will need to be received by UK Visas & Immigration (formerly the UK Border Agency) by Friday 25 October 2013 (the last working day before the change).

For details of the new requirement please click here.

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