US To Fast-Track Immigration For British Travellers

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Written By Mahmoud Sarvari

British passport holders can skip waiting in long lines at airports for US immigration officers to wave them through – at a price.

The British and US governments have agreed a fast-track entry procedure for UK passport holders aimed at speeding up passing through border controls by up to 70%.

Travellers opting for fast-track will have a special gate at immigration control from December 3, 2015.

To take a place in the new US Global Entry System, travellers will have to apply to the British Home Office and fork out a £42 fee.

If the traveller is approved for the scheme, the Home Office will issue a personal access code valid for five years – at an additional cost of £65.

Visitors will still have to face an interview with a US immigration officer before being allowed entry to the country.

46 US airports join scheme

Air passengers can take the fast track entry at 46 US airports.

Britain has a similar process in place for US passport holders which costs £70 a year.

Signing up for the entry system would only seem worthwhile for expats and business travellers who regularly visit the US due to the cost added to a single trip.

“We glad to extend the facility to British passport holders,” said a US State Department spokesman.

“Britain and the US enjoy a special relationship and we want to see this continue and regard this visa scheme as one way of doing so.”

Travellers with German, Dutch and South Korean passports are already granted fast-track access under the scheme.

New design for British passports

British passport designs are updated every five years, and the latest hot from the press pages have been put on show by the Passport Office.

Themed ‘creative Britain’, the designs feature famous landmarks and images related to famous writers and artists.

They include The Angel of the North statue; the Globe Theatre and Shakespeare and The Titanic museum in Belfast.

“This is the most secure passport design ever issued due to our designers using the latest technology, innovations in  watermarks, paper and inks,” said Passport Office Director General, Mark Thomson.

The new passport will be released to applicants from December 2015.