UK is replacing abandoned tourists with iris scan to avoid border chaos

Be warned to check the app as this feature could be disabled at a new security scanners at the French-Austrian border

Travelers can now check details about where they’ve been on ArriveCan before they leave the UK, so long as they haven’t used it recently.

The information, including passport and visa details, can be supplied via the free app, but Dutch foreign ministry officials said ArriveCan users should check with border control staff if the app is disabled.

The ArriveCan app, used by 2.5 million Britons, will now include details of where the user has been for at least three days, provided their destination is in the EU.

The new detail can be found on the page under “migration”, where three months ago travel information had been limited to the UK and the EU.

ArriveCan said the move followed a request from Belgium’s foreign ministry “to help prevent information being used by authorities in other countries to impose new travel restrictions”.

“We are pleased to respond to a request from the Belgian foreign ministry which has enabled us to provide even more information to travellers,” said the company’s chief executive, George Cheveley.

“We are always open to sharing information with our users at any time, without special permission from the user, which is the same policy we have had for the last 10 years.”

About 10,000 travellers travel from Kent to France daily. This could increase dramatically in the future as ArriveCan’s parent company, Conduit, describes “jumps” in business for the app as recently as the last quarter of 2018.

Veronica Rohauslein, the director of the Kent-based EU Commuters’ Association (CL-UK), said the move was “very positive” but warned: “It must be said that in recent years this is a most welcome move, although especially for those coming from Kent on the day of Brexit. We are a 30-hour flying distance from the French coast and any difficulty with border control or Customs would have terrible consequences for those caught in the centre of this chaos.”

In February, two weeks before EU nationals were denied access to Australia’s borders, travellers in Spain, Portugal and France encountered “service disruption” when they attempted to input visa information. The glitch caused a 12-hour stoppage and a decision not to enroll EU residents with electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to cross the French border was later overturned after users raised concerns.

Police in Spain were recently accused of deliberately slowing down the flow of people across the border from France, after migrants fleeing extreme poverty in the north African country were forced to use a port of call with extremely long wait times.

According to the French immigration office Agence nationale des things d’immigration (ANIVI), it now takes up to 16 hours to process migrants, up from about nine hours five years ago.

A senior minister for Europe and home affairs in Portugal said recently that the EU was “not ready” to handle a massive influx of migrants as Britain withdrew from the bloc.

Earlier this month, Teresa Barber, the only British member of the European parliament who represents Thanet district in Kent, said the UK government should shut down the controversial Eurotunnel and UK border checks at French border stations.

Hundreds of Britons have been locked out of France at Dover, Le Havre and Calais in recent months, and the border controls are designed to stop migrants from entering the UK.

• This article was amended on 14 July 2019 to clarify that ArriveCan currently enables users to check up to three months’ travel history, not two months.

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