I am pleased to inform the House that from today visitors and entry clearance holders from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States will be able to use e-passport gates at all 15 UK airports and juxtaposed controls where they are in operation. I am further pleased to inform the House that from today the requirement to complete a landing card will be removed for passengers of any nationality arriving in the UK.
Allowing these seven nationalities to use e-passport gates and removing the requirement for arriving passengers of any nationality to complete a landing card will allow us to control our borders in a way that works to the UK’s best interests, while also demonstrating to the rest of the world that Britain is absolutely open for business. The vast majority of these nationals arriving in the UK will be eligible to use e-passport gates, with only some groups coming for specific migration purposes still needing to see a Border Force officer on arrival, for instance short-term students who do not hold a visa.
The expansion of e-passport gate eligibility to eligible travellers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States was first announced in the Budget last year. I further announced on 3 December 2018 that this expansion would also include eligible travellers from Singapore and South Korea.
Introducing these changes has required a large body of work to be completed, including the introduction of a statutory instrument allowing the seven nationalities to use e-passport gates, which was laid before the House on 3 December 2018 and came into force on 11 March 2019. The decision to withdraw landing cards for all passengers has been taken following a public consultation, the response to which I am placing in the Library of the House today.
I am pleased that we have been able to introduce these changes ahead of schedule.