UK Border Force have confirmed that Monday 13 May is the target ‘go-live’ date for the expansion of e-Gates and removal of the requirement of landing cards for the seven countries known as B5JSSK – USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
The advancing of the date from June is intended to capture the late May peak travel dates and allow for the expected transition as more eligible users become aware of the change. The short notice is regrettable but the complications around ‘no deal’ Brexit planning have complicated timelines somewhat.
Testing will be undertaken at LHR and LGW from 23 April by moving some B5JSSK pax over to a manned e-Gate and excepting any IT issues identified in testing then the project will become fully live from 13 May.
Please note the following important details:
- All passport holders of the above seven B5JSSK countries will no longer require landing cards from 13 May.
- e-Gates can be used by passport holders of the seven countries from 13 May with the following exceptions where a stamp via the manned UK/EU desks is required:
- Children under 12 years
- Short term students staying less than 6 months (approx. 80,000 pa)
- Tier 5 creative and sporting temporary worker visas
- Other permitted paid work visas.
1. Airlines will not be held responsible where any short term students or work visa individuals mistakenly enter via the e-Gate channel. Collective efforts from all stakeholders will help to minimise these occurrences from the approximately 110,000 pa individuals in scope. The Home Office is working on procedures for individuals should this occur.
2. The Registered Traveller scheme is now closed to new enrolments from the seven countries. No refunds are being processed for any unused portion of Registered Traveller enrolment as the Home Office have deemed that all members had accrued value from the scheme. Registered Traveller will continue for the other 33 eligible nationalities.
3. Fast track will continue as normal. Airlines can decide on their own policy but the airline will not be charged if a passenger holding a Fast Track pass uses the e-Gate channel instead.
4. The Border Force Communications Team are to issue stakeholder communications packs to airlines and airports imminently. This will include video clips and images for potential inclusion in IFE systems, inflight magazines and websites. Also examples of new airport wayfinding signage. It is recognised that carrier communications may take longer to ramp up in some cases.
5. Airports will be signing off new signage for installation in time for 13 May. Following BAR UK feedback, the signage has now been adapted to better highlight the EU flag than in the original designs.