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Key Points

  • The government of the UK will introduce several changes to its travel and immigration permissions beginning in 2023

Overview

The United Kingdom (UK) government plans to digitize the immigration process and introduce a contactless border crossing plan in 2025 for all travelers entering the country. To achieve this plan, the government will introduce the following changes over a period of several years:

  • Introduce a Permission to Travel scheme in 2023 that will require all travelers to obtain permission to enter the UK before travel. Under this scheme, the government will:
    • Expand access to the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system for visa-exempt foreign nationals
    • Convert to using eVisas for all visa-required foreign nationals seeking residence or coming to the country for work or study
  • Introduce digital customer accounts for any foreign national applying for work or entry authorization under the country’s point-based system
  • Introduce an updated sponsorship verification process
  • By the end of 2023, increase the number of travelers eligible to use the UK’s eGates program when entering the country
  • Phase out Biometric Residence Permits and Cards by the end of 2024

For additional information on these expected changes, check here.

What are the Changes?

At the beginning of July 2022, the government of the UK released a report outlining how immigration procedures will be digitized. According to the government, the new plan is intended to reduce travel wait times and delays when entering the UK. The program will be introduced in phases and start with the introduction of the Permission to Travel Scheme. In addition, the government will introduce further ETA options for visa-exempt travelers. The government has already introduced a timeline for providing ETA options to citizens of Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

Looking Ahead

The government of the UK has already begun taking steps to digitize its immigration travel process and permissions and is expected to make additional changes in the coming years. Continue to check the government of the UK’s website for the latest updates and information.

Written by: Jessie Butchley, Global Immigration Writer, Envoy Global
Source: Government of the United Kingdom

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