Last updated: 12:45 PM ET, Wed April 08 2015

Travelers Exiting the UK Now Subject to Exit Checks

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | April 08, 2015

Travelers Exiting the UK Now Subject to Exit Checks

Photo via ThinkStock.

The British government has officially rolled out exit checks for all travelers leaving the U.K. 

The Home Office and Border Force announced the procedure last month, and Wednesday marks the first day of its implementation.

The exit checks will occur at all airports and other ports across the U.K., with passengers' passport information being collected to help the Home Office gain a better understanding of which immigration routes and visas are most often being abused.

"It is right that we have an immigration system that is fair, that tackles illegal immigration, and that clamps down on those who try to cheat the system by staying here when they have no right to do so," said Minister for Security and Immigration James Brokenshire in a statement.

The exit checks are also designed to assist authorities and security services in keeping tabs on known criminals and terrorists.

Considering most airlines already provide the Home Office with Advance Passenger Information, air travelers leaving the U.K. are unlikely to notice any significant changes as a result of the new policy.

However, travelers exiting the U.K. via rail or sea are likely to need their passport or identification card handy upon arrival at various ports, including Dover:

While Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel's website notes that there's "no need to change your travel plans as a result of exit checks," some ports and companies have advised travelers to leave themselves extra time.

"MyFerryLink would encourage customers to plan a little extra travel time into their journey to the Port of Dover to ensure they arrive at check-in no later than the minimum check-in time," said MyFerryLink in a statement.

The plan moving forward is to introduce the exit checks gradually, with all exits eventually being checked by June. 

"The U.K. already has one of the most comprehensive systems in the world for recording who travels across our borders: delivering on our commitment to reintroduce exit checks will make us more secure and better informed than ever," concluded Brokenshire.

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