Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
OTTAWA — Canadians no longer need to fill in landing cards upon arrival in the UK, making for a smoother entry to the country, plus eligible travellers from Canada can also now use ePassport gates to enter the UK.
The changes came into effect May 20.
Canadian nationals aged 18 and over, and who are travelling using a biometric or ‘chipped’ passport, will be able to use the automated e-passport gates. Visitors ages 12 to 17 years old, and who are accompanied by an adult, are also able to use them.
“Our new global immigration and border system will improve security and fluidity for passengers coming to visit or work in the UK,” said Home Secretary Sajid Javid said.
“Expanding the use of ePassport gates is a key part of this and allows us to improve passenger experience arriving in the UK while keeping our border secure. I’m delighted that Canadian nationals will benefit from their use and have a smooth beginning to their visit to our country.”
The government is also removing the need for travellers from Canada and all other non-EEA countries to fill in landing cards upon arrival in the UK. Non-EEA passengers are currently required to complete a landing card and present it to an immigration officer.
There were 1.3 million arrivals in the UK of Canadian nationals in 2017.
ePassport gates use facial recognition technology to compare the passenger’s face to the digital image recorded in the passport.
They are monitored by UK Border Force officers and anyone rejected at the gates will be sent to a manned channel to have their identity and passport checked.
In the year ending September 2018, 51.9 million passengers used them across the UK and juxtaposed controls.
The expansion of ePassport gates is part of the UK’s vision of a new global border and immigration system that makes better use of data and technology to improve security and fluidity across the border.
The majority of travellers from Canada are eligible to use ePassport gates, however some categories of travellers will still need to see an immigration officer rather than use an ePassport gate. These include: