UK Border Force to ditch landing cards as part of digital transformation programme

Written by Sam Trendall on 9 August 2017 in News

Home Office to bring in digital methods to replace £3.6m-a-year system

A total of 16.2 million passengers arrived from non-EU countries - and had to fill out landing cards - in 2016, the government said   Credit: PA

The UK Border Force is to ditch paper landing cards for passengers arriving at UK airports, as part of its ongoing digital transformation project.

The government has announced that, from this autumn, it will be ditching the system which requires people flying into the UK from non-European Union countries to fill out physical landing cards with personal details. Replacing it will be digital methods of conducting a number of checks against various police, security, and immigration databases.

The current system, which has been in place since 1971, processed 16.2 million non-EU passengers last year at a cost of about £3.6m, the government said. Replacing it is intended to shorten queuing times for passengers and free up additional Border Force staff and resources.

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Ditching the paper cards forms part of an ongoing Home Office “transformation at the border” initiative which has, in the last two months, already seen the installation of 232 e-gates across 21 points of entry into the UK. 

Immigration minister Brandon Lewis said: “We are modernising border technology to ensure Border Force staff stop dealing with outdated paperwork and can continue to focus on security and protecting the public. In addition, this change will improve the experience for arriving passengers, so they get an even better welcome when they land in the UK.”.

Before the new system takes effect, the Home Office is undertaking a four-week consultation process involving ports, carriers, and organisations that use statistics collected by landing cards.

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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