UK offers expedited customs clearance to many foreign nationals

U.S. citizen or Canadian citizen enrolled in the Global Entry or NEXUS program, as well as certain citizens of seven other countries, may be eligible to apply for an expedited entry program for travel to the United Kingdom.

Called Registered Traveller, it was launched by the UK Border Force to give faster and more convenient entry to the UK for eligible nationals from nine countries, including the United States and Canada. Visitor eligibility criteria have recently changed and citizens of those countries may now apply to join if they have made at least four journeys to the United Kingdom in the previous two years.

TSA Pre-Check at SEA
In addition to the U.S. and Canada, certain citizens of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Singapore may also be eligible, as may citizens of Hong Kong who hold a Special Administrative Region passport and Taiwan citizens whose passports have their personal ID number on the photo page.

Membership in the U.K.’s Registered Traveller program includes the benefit of access to ePassport gates, use of the UK/EEA queue, no requirement to complete a landing card upon arrival in the U.K., and no routine “credibility interview” with a Border Force officer.

The program offers expedited clearance at Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), Manchester (MAN), Stansted (STN), Luton (LTN), Edinburgh (EDI), Birmingham (BHX), Glasgow (GLA), East Midlands (EMA) or London City (LCY) airports as well as Eurostar terminals at Paris, Brussels and Lille.

Registered Traveller is proving extremely popular according to an email from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) advising U.S. travelers of their potential eligibility. To date, there have been over 275,000 crossings of the border by Registered Traveller members, and the feedback has been “extremely positive,” according to the CBP.

“I think it is fantastic! It has made a major difference to my experience travelling as it gives me a great deal of time back,” one traveler is quoted as saying while another cited the program’s “Time saving and improved experience of clearing immigration.”

While members of the Global Entry program enjoy similar benefits when returning to the U.S., there are some important differences, including the cost. The Global Entry application fee is $100 and, if approved, the credential is good for five years. The Registered Traveller program costs £70 for the first year and £50 per year thereafter, or $85 and $61, respectively, at current exchange rates.

Complete details of Registered Traveller eligibility and availability can be found online at Eligible travelers may also apply on the same website.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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