Under a new set of plans laid out by the UK home secretary, Priti Patel, EU nationals will need to apply for a US style visa waiver when entering the UK post-Brexit. This would mean that visitors from European countries would be required to fill in an online form before travelling.
Currently, under freedom of movement rules, travellers only need an ID card to enter the UK. However, the changes would mean filling in the form, going through additional security clearances, and making a payment online, at least three days before travelling.
Announcing the plans, Ms Patel said: “When people voted to leave in 2016, they were voting to take back control of our borders […] I am committed to doing everything we can to secure the border and protect the UK.”
The waiver – known as an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) – would require biometric passports for all arrivals into the UK. It would be similar to the American visa waiver scheme that’s currently in place.
This mirrors a new visa waiver scheme due to be introduced by the EU, which allows non-EU visitors to enter the EU visa-free. This scheme, the ETIAS European Travel Information and Authorisation System) is currently being developed to improve border control and security.
This would be applied to British travellers after the UK leaves the EU, although it would mean that anyone entering the EU would face additional costs and security checks.
Although critics have described Priti Patel’s claims that this would improve border security as “groundless,” the home secretary argues that EU laws are “limiting the UK’s border capability”.
Critics say, however, that this is not the case. Some experts say that this argument is incorrect as, because the UK won’t be included in EU security and justice systems, it would be losing access to real-time databases and European Arrest Warrants.
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