British Home Secretary said the UK will introduce a US-style digital visa system for visitors.
Anyone arriving in the UK without a visa or immigration status will have to apply for an electronic travel authorisation (ETA), which will determine the eligibility of the applicant before they travel, just as the US ESTA does.
“Our new fully digital border will provide the ability to count people in and count people out of the country,” she said at an online conference.
“We will have a far clearer picture of who is here and whether they should be – and will act when they are not.”
The Home Office is anticipating 30 million ETA requests every year.
The proposals to “digitise the border” will be officially launched on Monday as part of the Home Secretary’s much-criticised plans to significantly alter the UK’s immigration and asylum system.
The new system will most likely apply to EU citizens – except those who already have or are applying for residency status in the UK. By next year, UK citizens looking to travel in the EU will require a €7 visa waiver under the European Travel and Information & Authorisation System. The waiver will last for three years.
Under the terms of the Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland and the UK, Irish citizens will not need an ETA and UK citizens can travel to Ireland without first obtaining a waiver.
It has not yet been made clear how the ETA will work for non-Irish citizens crossing the border into Northern Ireland.