United Kingdom: Plan to Digitize Immigration and Travel Permissions by 2025

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points  

  • The government of the UK will introduce several changes to its travel and immigration permissions beginning in 2023 


The government of the United Kingdom (UK) plans to digitize the immigration process and introduce a contactless border crossing plan in 2025 for all travelers entering the country. To achieve this plan, the government will introduce the following changes over a period of several years: 

  • Introduce a Permission to Travel scheme in 2023 that will require all travelers to obtain permission to enter the UK in advance of travel. Under this scheme, the government will: 
  • Expand access to the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system for visa-exempt foreign nationals; 
  • Convert to using eVisas for all visa-required foreign nationals seeking residence or coming to the country for work or study 
  • Introduce digital customer accounts for any foreign national applying for work or entry authorization under the country's point-based system 
  • Introduce an updated sponsorship verification process 
  • By the end of 2023, increase the number of travelers eligible to use the UK’s eGates program when entering the country 
  • Phase out the use of Biometric Residence Permits and Cards by the end of 2024. 

For additional information on these expected changes, check here

What are the Changes? 

At the beginning of July 2022, the government of the UK released a report outlining how immigration procedures will be digitized. According to the government, the new plan is intended to reduce travel wait-times and delays when entering the UK. The plan will be introduced in phases and start with the introduction of the Permission to Travel Scheme. In addition, the government will introduce further ETA options for visa-exempt travelers. The government has already introduced a timeline for providing ETA options to citizens of Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia

Looking Ahead 

The government of the UK has already begun taking steps to digitize its immigration travel process and permissions and is expected to make additional changes in the coming years. Continue to check the government of the UK’s website and Envoy’s website for the latest updates and information.  

For more news and insights from around the world, please sign up for Envoy’s Global Blog Digest, emailed to you every Wednesday morning. 

This article was published on 25 July 2022 and may not be the most recent update concerning COVID-19 entrance restrictions, testing requirements and quarantine measurers. For the most recent updates be sure to check our Global Mobility Resource Center.

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.