Entrust, a global leader in trusted identity, payments and data today announced a new two-year agreement with options for two additional years with the Home Office to expand the digitisation of UK immigration application processes. The solution enables a streamlined, more seamless way for travellers coming to the UK to be identified via their facial biometrics, bringing more secure border control and speeding up identity and border checks. This new contract will support the pending UK Electronic Travel Authorisation that could apply to 30 million travellers per year.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the net number of migrants has recovered from the dip seen during the pandemic. This increase in travel and migration to pre-pandemic levels creates a pressing need to simplify and digitise entry processes. The Entrust Identity and Document Verification as a service (IDVaaS) enables faster and more secure immigration application processing, mitigating the need for applicants to physically send their passport to the Home Office or apply in person.
The service works in conjunction with Home Office online application processes and involves the use of a mobile app which scans the chip in a person’s passport. The applicant then takes a ‘selfie’, or scan, of their face which is matched against their image in the passport chip. A liveness test ensures that the applicant is a real, live person and matches the verified identity document. This information is sent securely to the Home Office which verifies the identity of the passport holder and completes the application process.
Gordon Wilson, Vice President Identity Verification at Entrust commented: “Entrust’s secure identity technology acts as the ‘front door’ to digital immigration applications and border declarations. The technology ensures personal and unique biometric data is processed securely and efficiently, helping to digitise and streamline border control systems. This, in turn, helps travellers to the UK benefit from a more seamless journey and reduces the need for hard copy paperwork and in-person appointments. This also serves to strengthen the UK’s border security by enabling the Home Office to identify quickly and confidently that someone really is who they say they are.”
Generic Identity and Document Verification (GIDV) builds on the use of IDVaaS since 2019 to support the EU Settlement scheme for EU nationals following Brexit. It has also been applied to help the resettlement of Hong Kong-based British passport holders, for some overseas student categories, and for Ukrainian refugees applying for a Ukraine Family Scheme visa.
GIDV will be used to enable the UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme (ETA) which is due to begin in late 2023. This is a core piece of the UK government’s plans to introduce Universal Permission to Travel. Passengers will be asked to declare their identity before travelling, as well as the reasons for travel via a digital application process using the same Entrust biometric identification technology.