UK extends 'Registered Traveller' fast-track airport service

By Chris Chamberlin , March 30 2015
UK extends 'Registered Traveller' fast-track airport service

Australian travellers can now skip the passport control queues at the UK's largest airports – including Heathrow, Gatwick and London City, with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Stansted to follow – thanks to an expansion of the ‘Registered Traveller’ scheme.

The program has dropped its initial invitation-only caveat and now extends to all nationals from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the USA and Canada.

Note that you still need to have travelled to the UK four or more times in the last 52 weeks.

Apply online at www.gov.uk/registered-traveller, punch in your credit card details to cover the application fee, and on your next trip to the UK – as well as the Eurostar terminals at Paris, Lille and Brussels – you'll be able to use the ePassport gates or UK/EU channels instead of joining that snaking slow-moving immigration line.

You also won’t need to fill out a landing card – simply present your passport for a quick check and you’re out the door.

The current application fee is a non-refundable £50, but from April 8 this increases to £70 – although £50 of this will be refunded if your application isn’t successful. There's also an annual £50 Registered Traveller membership fee.

Also from April 8 the Registered Traveller scheme will include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Stansted, with other UK airports to be added throughout 2015.

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

I note the Registered Traveller website states:

You can use the Registered Traveller Service if both of the following apply:

  • you’re a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or the USA 
  • you regularly use Heathrow or Gatwick airports, or the Eurostar terminals at Paris, Lille or Brussels

It doesn't define what "regularly use" is, but that does suggest there might be a hurdle to pass there. Given the £50 application fee is non-refundable, that may be advisable to suss out before handing over the credit card details.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Again from the Registered Traveller website:

It costs £50 to apply. This charge is non-refundable, even if your application is unsuccessful.

There was a rule of 4 visits in the past 52 weeks, as the definition for frequency. But it does not seem to be published anymore. What I'm curious to know is if you can apply again if you failed the first time round? Or is it better to wait till you have met that 4/52 threshold? GBP 50 is immaterial. But if you only get one chance then you don't want to mess it up! I wish they were clearer!  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

At least after April 8, you get most of it back if you aren't successful. If it's a minimum of 4 trips a year to the UK then unlikely I can take advantage. My travel to the UK is nowhere so regular as 4 trips every year.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 343

So if you are willing to wait in the long line, that is free?

I am heading to London in about a month time. The first time in Europe, so I have no idea. If I have to pay £50 regardless, then I'll apply. But if no need to pay if willing to wait, I might not apply as I am unlikely to go to UK in the next 12 months. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Apr 2014

Total posts 44

Michael - just use the regular lane. When I landed in LHR last year it was shorter than the EU/UK lanes.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 527

Line length isn't an indicator of how long it will take, considering the EU lines they are only for the most part checking your identity, not checking and questioning why you are entering the UK. So in otherwords it always move faster.

As for the queue in London, depends upon many things. Which terminal, what time of day and even what time of year. The worst lines are always the few weeks before uni starts for the year with many student travellers who take for ever to get processed.

I've always found the best terminal to be T3 as it has a good mix of long and short haul (with short haul seemingly having more European travellers than long), and T3 the worst owing to mostly long haul flights.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 527

Oops, meant best terminal T5, worst T3.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

It might have been useful to state in the article that it is only for regular travellers to the UK and that you need to have travelled there at least 4 times in the last 52 weeks to be eligible.... It's not just for the casual traveller.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 70

Do  they  have an  express   lane    for   Business   class  travellers on  Arrival   at  Heathrow?  

Yes they do.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 527

Depedning upon terminal and time of day not always open. My last arrival at T3 in August last year, which was around 7pm on a Saturday it was closed.

When I lived in the UK and used T5 regularly (so going back 4-5 years now), the express line was only generally open in the morning and if I recall for a burst of long haul arrivals in the early evening. Of course the UK border has changed quite a lot since then.

 

Got to be seen to be doing something about nothing afterall. What I mean by the is the UK's 'major' immigration problem is European, which they cannot stop, but to appease the masses they crack down on everyone else, which was never the issue to start with. But works wonders for local consumption and doesn't stop the genuine travllers from coming. But I digress.

Interesting point to digress on. It is absolutely ironic that Europeans who can't speak a word of English, share no common culture and traditions and for all intent and purposes foreign are able to waltz into the UK, while the likes of Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Barbadians, Jamaicans and countless others whose Head of State is Her Majesty has to use the foreign channel. It really does reveal the horrors and scars of the first and second world wars on the psyche of past leaders on the Continent such that they contort themselves into an untenable state of affairs, most recently with this Eurozone debacle, to preserve peace in Europe.

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 271

It's time for an update on the UK Registered Traveller program. The requirements have changed since this article was written 3 years ago, and they now require 4 entries to the UK within the previous 2 years rather than 1 year. Once you get provisional approval, on your 5th entry you enter via the regular method, are manually checked for something or other, and then given a sticker on the back of your passport. On your next entry you are able to use the e-gates.


I've recently been accepted, and it was a delight to use. I entered via the UK/EU lanes and went to one of the 20 or so e-gates, and there were no queues at any them. Like the e-gates at SYD, I was through in 30 secs.

On the other hand, my wife hasn't yet qualified for the Registered Traveller program, but travelling in a premium cabin she had an entitlement to use the FastTrack queue. We arrived at LHR at T5 last month in the mid-afternoon. Incredibly, she was stuck in the FastTrack queue for 50 minutes. She was most unhappy.

So, if you enter the UK on a regular enough basis, I recommend that you consider the Registered Traveller program. It's well worth the cost.

My only query is whether I need to maintain the rate of entries to the UK to be able to continue my membership in subsequent years, or is it simply a matter of paying the annual fee?

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 527

Went through T5 fast track about 4 weeks ago. Took an hour. It had 2 people manning it.


Apparently in T5 BA pays immigration for fast track and the number of agents is based on how much they pay.

I am sure it would have been quicker to go the nornal line.

Just a pity you need so many entries to register for what the article is discussions.

Years ago when they had Iris the only requirement was you had to register in departures. So you had to enter at least once.

Hi Phil, we're planning a new article on Registered Traveller soon with first-hand experience, as I'm now a member of the RT scheme as well with that 'magic' sticker on the back of my passport.


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