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Immigration Controls: Airports

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what process is used to admit UK service personnel who are nationals of Commonwealth countries through UK airport immigration; and what representations she has received on difficulties experienced by those personnel. (201360)

[holding answer 24 April 2008]: The Immigration Act 1971 exempts from immigration control a member of the United Kingdom's armed forces subject to service law. A person is regarded as exempt from control (except for the provisions relating to deportation) so long as he or she is a member of those forces.

Members of the United Kingdom's armed forces are required to produce to an immigration officer documentary evidence of their exemption from control. They may hold a national passport which has already been endorsed with an exemption from control stamp or, alternatively, they may hold a personal identity card issued by the military authority to which they belong. Both are normally sufficient to demonstrate their entitlement to be treated as exempt.

Data relating to representations made by HM forces personnel about difficulties experienced by them when passing through the immigration control are not collated and are therefore unavailable.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will introduce an expedited immigration service for UK service personnel who are nationals of Commonwealth countries entering the UK at airports. (201361)

[holding answer 24 April 2008]: The Immigration Act 1971 exempts from immigration control a member of the United Kingdom’s armed forces subject to service law. A person is regarded as exempt from control (except for the provisions relating to deportation) so long as he or she is a member of those forces.

Members of the United Kingdom’s armed forces are required to produce to an Immigration Officer documentary evidence of their exemption from control. They may hold a national passport which has already been endorsed with an exemption from control stamp or, alternatively, they may hold a personal identity card issued by the military authority to which they belong. Both are normally sufficient to demonstrate their entitlement to be treated as exempt.

Given their exempt status and the need to provide evidence of that status to an Immigration Officer, there are no plans to alter the processes in place for members of the United Kingdom’s armed forces who arrive at airports in the United Kingdom.