The Home Office has announced plans to replace the paper-based landing card system to digital.
Non-EU passengers have been required to fill out a landing card; detailing personal information on themselves and their travel, since 1971. This week, the Home Office announces plans to get rid of the old system as part of the digital transformation strategy for Border Security.
The department assured passengers the change will not result in any loss of data used for security checks.
No paper landing cards will mean passengers don’t have to spend time filling out the cards on their flights or in queues, they will have their data stored elsewhere and be checked through different security checks.
Instead of having physical landing cards, the Border Force is expected to use a variety of watch lists to check the identity of non-EU passengers arriving at UK airports. This will minimise the likelihood of having outdated landing cards for when passengers arrive in the UK.
Last year, 16.2m non-EU passengers came through the UK’s border. With the change in strategy allowing passengers across the border the Home Office hopes it will improve traveller experience.
As a result, queues at the Border will be reduce and improve passenger flow through the passport control section.
The change not only benefits passengers, but will also have a positive impact on Border Force security officers by allowing them to spend time working on other security and infrastructure matters.
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Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We are modernising border technology to ensure Border Force staff stop dealing with outdated paperwork and can continue to focus on security and protecting the public.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.”
The changes are part of the continuing Digital Services at the Border programme, which has already seen the successful installment of 232 e-Gates at 21 aiports.
Plans for the transformation are expected to begin within the next three months.