London, Aug 6 (IANS) Millions of travellers bound for the UK will no longer have to fill in a landing card on arrival, after the British government announced it was scrapping the “outdated” system.
International visitors from non-EU countries have been required to fill in the paper form since 1971, including details about their place of birth, profession and reason for their stay.
Under proposals published on Saturday, the UK Home Office said the outdated paper-based system costing the UK public nearly $5 million each year will be replaced as part of an ongoing digital transformation of border control system, the Daily Express newspaper reported.
The move will ease travel for the more than 16 million non-Europeans flying into Britain each year. When it is introduced later this year, passengers will no longer need to fill out the paper cards while on board the flight or in queues at airports and ports.
The Home Office said the withdrawal of landing cards will not result in the loss of any data used for security checks.
Border Force has increased its use of Advance Passenger Information, with systems in place to receive data on 100 per cent of scheduled flights for all international journeys to and from Britain.
All passengers arriving from outside the EU will also continue to be checked against the variety of police, security and immigration watch lists which are used to verify the identity and confirm the status of every passenger arriving at British airports.
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Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We are modernising border technology to ensure Border Force staff stop dealing with outdated paperwork and can continue to focus on security and protecting the public.”
London Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “We warmly welcome this proposed change which would give visitors to Britain an improved experience… In post-Brexit Britain, it will be even more important to show we are open for business and make sure that we give investors, tourists and students a great welcome to our country.”