IRIS to be closed Sept 2011Back to Forum
Anonymous31 Aug 2011
As on another post here re immigration clearance, i waited 50 mins to clear UK Immigration at T4 Saturday 19.15hrs.
The Manager who came out to assist, told me that “Iris is finished, it is being abolished from September. It was only ever meant as an interim measure.”
He suggested I obtained a digital passport to use the lanes.
Whilst Schiphol’s Privium continues to be a membership funded at Euros 100+ a year, it works well, in 20 seconds, with one rather than both eyes. It is a brilliant, reliable system.
What a missed business opportunity, to create a membership and allow fast border clearance to frequent travellers.
Another ill thought through example of the British style of Management.31 Aug 2011
You jump too soon.
According to (normally reliable) well founded commentary on FlyerTalk (second time in one day I mention it), there will be a membership system created shortly which addresses the issues you mention above.
That said, the removal of Iris is a disappointment, not least for those of us who don’t need a new passport for 4 years …31 Aug 2011
But as something that improved the service of the UKBA and made air travel less arduous to frequent flyers it was obvious it would be chopped.
Why not close the UK borders outside office hours and during all european holidays, that would save more money and further improve our european focus.
I hoep they do start a privium service here and take it away from UKBA and give it to the Dutch to run.31 Aug 2011
I think MarkRoberts9 is jumping the gun here.
Although it’s known that IRIS will be phased out, there is nothing to suggest the gates themselves will be closed as soon as September, though it looks like it is closed to new entrants.
It should be remembered that IRIS was free, whereas privium charge a fee.
1. It is likely that IRIS or a similar biometric system will be started soon, which will involve a fee, but will hopefully be part of the FLUX alliance so can be used in multiple jurisdictions:
2. UKBA is pressing ahead introducing the e-gates for RFID-chipped passports; if you don’t yet have one of these remember you can apply for a new one up to nine months prior to the expiry of your current passport without problems. This is available without charge to all EU passport holders.
Having said all that, I find UKBA among the most efficient border controls especially for UK passport holders, and no worse that Schipol where I was last week and the early morning line was taking about 45 minutes to clear through the hordes of transit passengers.31 Aug 2011
Thank you for at least a glimmer of hope VK. I have been arguing for a fee based system linked to flux for years. Whilst agreeing that Schiphol immigration can be slow I have not found LHR to be particularly efficient especially compared to the best in class which tend to be found in Asia.
For those who find European things of interest it is interesting to note that the practice of Europeans traveling in Europe without passports is not enabled by the epass gates as they require a proper bio metric passport rather than the less secure passes that are common in Europe. Another interesting fact is that under 18’s are barred from using epass gates as well as predictably all non EEA passport holders. I hope the UK gates work more effectivelty than the ones at Lisbon which are very prone to refusing entry.31 Aug 2011
I use LHR on an average twice a month and quiet often transit through LHR and always go out to have a smoke and use the IRIS and on the approx 70-80 times I have used IRIS, I have never had a problem whatsoever and as someone who also used to use DXB’s E-Gate and has Hong Kong frequent visitor pass IRIS works better than both of these. A shame they are discontinuing it as the queues at LHR immigration are normally very long.31 Aug 2011
lets hope the new fee paying system overlaps with IRIS. I have 4 years before I need a new passport and as I need it most weeks could do without the hassle of replacing it with a chipped passport. I have always found IRIS to be pretty reliable and any delays usually caused by people gazing vacantly into the wrong screen on the scanner or even worse, waiting for minutes while someone who hasnt actually registered tries to get through.
I guess it would be too much to expect that any future system with a membership fee would allow use of the US fast track entry system anytime soon.31 Aug 2011
As indicated, it was the Senior Officer / Manager in Charge sat Y4 LHR that indicated this was the case re the IRIS.
They had 800 people to go through EU Immigration, and still did not open the IRIS gate.
He indicated clearly, it would be closed.
They appear to be already…?
No introduction of any other system was planned by this time.
Likewise, it is difficult for Frequent travellers to obtain the Biometric passports in terms of time, and frequency of travel.
A paid for same day service is available in London (approx £130), but you need to drop off am, pick up PM. If you have any time remaining on yr passport this can be added onto yr 10 years. Appointments can be made 2 weeks in advance only.
Seems like the quickest way forwards…31 Aug 2011
VK – All well and good you suggesting it is all rosy to apply for a passport up to 9 months beforehand with no lost of validity, but if you have 4 years left on yours (as I do), then you’re done for.
I welcome your suggestions to this point.31 Aug 2011
I can recommend the same day passport service at Victoria I have used it twice in last 5 years as my passports do not last that long with all the visas and the requirement some countries have to stamp on clean page. For once this is a very high quality service from a British Government body. Well done to evryone involved. Does what it says on the can and does not let you down. Ihope it does not go the same way as IRIS.1 Sep 2011