BIG UPDATE: UK ANNOUNCES NEW OPTION FOR UK VISIT VISA APPLICANTS | UK IMMIGRATION NEWS | UK VISA UPDATES

BIG UPDATE: UK ANNOUNCES NEW OPTION FOR UK VISIT VISA APPLICANTS | UK IMMIGRATION NEWS | UK VISA UPDATES

NEW OPTION FOR UK VISIT VISA APPLICANTS

Please keep in mind that the UK Home Office has announced its long-term intent to implement a system through which visitors to the UK can remotely upload images and fingerprint scans to allow forensic identity verifications to be carried out by the UK immigration authorities.

The department is soon to conduct “feasibility trials” of platforms that would permit “biometric self-enrolment” prior to travelling to the UK. These tests plan to “assess how effectively these novel solutions can capture biometrics and assist enhance the biometric processes we use for immigration applications”.

In a privacy information notice for trial participants the department said, “The long-term plan is that all visitors and migrants to the UK will upload their biometric facial images and fingerprints under a single global immigration system”. “To increase customer suitability and safety, we will progressively look to provide abilities for biometric self-enrolment, integrated within digital application processes for immigration products.”

Since the UK finalized its exit from the European Union, the UK government has nodded its plan to launch an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for use by all visitors to the UK who do not own a visa or immigration status. This will, in the beginning, include arrivals from 26 EU member states – although Irish citizens can still travel to this country spontaneously.

Similar in style to the ESTA digital visa-waiver programme in process in the US, the ETA programme is anticipated to necessitate the collection of personal data – including biometric information – from 30 million people annually.

As mentioned in the Nationality and Borders Bill, which was put before parliament in July 2021 and is presently undergoing inspection by committee, airlines and passenger shipping lines will be accountable for making sure travellers have been approved an ETA, where essential; carriers that fail to do so may face “civil penalties”, the bill states.

The United Kingdom government lately specified that it will imminently launch secondary legislation to allow the legal implementation of the digital visa scheme.

The privacy notice for the self-enrolment trials clarifies that personal data collected via the trials will be utilized on the legal basis of consent, where people have agreed to take part in the programme.

For those that do, much of their data may be distributed with one or more of 17 suppliers and nine further sub-suppliers.

Please keep in mind that the UK Home Office itself will keep contributors ’ data on file for up to six years.

“The UK Home Office will store your data in a closed stand-alone environment with strict security procedures in place,” it mentioned. “All participating suppliers have signed a legally enforceable non-disclosure agreement with the UK Home Office and completed verifications to ensure that your personal data will be administered securely on their systems.”

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