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UK GAR form discussion, and UK border police procedures

Not sure. Clearly it is not hard to create one without submitting it. I did it on a phone, not because a phone is easy (for most things it bloody well is not) but to test it can be done, because on short trips I don’t carry a laptop.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I have noticed that the UK online GAR can be done either with the online form or by uploading a file.

So I tried uploading the file!

It turns out that, basically, the old “email a .xlsx file” facility has been retained. You just upload the file, instead of emailing it. You need to use the latest file though, which was updated in 2024. Older files do not upload. The muppets have obviously hard-coded the whole thing…

But as usual with Govt IT, they made it brainless by not apparently providing two fields in the .xlsx file, so when you upload it you get warnings and you click on the warnings and enter them manually. One is (IIRC) the responsible person name and address, and the other is a Customs declaration (specify “nothing to declare”).

Oh well, so close and they still managed to f**k it up!

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Used OnLineGAR to submit a GAR return to the U.K. this Sunday.
Every thing seems perfect, but I didn’t seem to get an ‘approval’ for my POB as specified in sGAR.
It seems that under OnLineGAR, the reception of an ‘Inbound Manifest Number’ is sufficient.
For clarification, I tried to contact sGAR on two separate specified emails. One responded: “Closed till Monday”; the other: “We will respond in 5 days”!

Rochester, UK, United Kingdom

The Home Office is hosting an online event next Tuesday (14 May) at 14:30Z to discuss the new sGAR and the Universal Permission to Travel (UPT) Response Messages.

I will join if I have time and report back.

On the 17th January 2024, we introduced Universal Permission to Travel (UPT) Response Messages to the sGAR web service (Submit a General Aviation Report). These messages confirm whether an individual has a valid digital permission to travel or if a manual check for a visa needs to be conducted. We would like to invite you to attend our post go-live engagement event for pilots, operators and agents who send passenger information to the Home Office through the sGAR web service. This event is intended to provide further support and clarity regarding the introduction of response messages, as well as an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

EGTF, United Kingdom


If you get a chance, mention

  • obviously, the 12hr PN for the CTA (the anti IRA measure) has not been relevant for many years and should be removed, or changed to the usual 2hrs
  • the website is really clunky (mobile-only, and for partially sighted people) and could do with a richer form suitable for use on a PC
  • there should be an easy way of filing both GARs for a return trip in one go (the old GAR form did that, and the vast majority of flights are like that)
  • the file upload mode doesn’t support some items (e.g. whether declaring any goods) so you always get errors reported, and one has to go into the rest of the website anyway
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Will do. One can submit questions in advance, so I’ll include those, along with the questions discussed above re the terminology used (seems wrong to use “permission” for those that are entitled to travel to the UK).

EGTF, United Kingdom

A few more:

  • why not auto populate various fields which are obviously known as soon as one logs in
  • why the 48hr max filing time before the flight?
  • the ack message does not include flight details so you can’t tell which ack is for which flight
  • the login involves receiving an email with a code, but incoming emails can take some minutes so this makes the login very slow (they should have SMS as an option)

All really basic stuff.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

obviously, the 12hr PN for the CTA (the anti IRA measure)

I can sort of understand this for travel from (northern) Ireland. But why the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands? Were they secret IRA hideouts during “the troubles”?

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

I think the IRA didn’t want to do the totally obvious thing (travel via France) because in France there was a risk of the police “taking a look” whereas – remember this is 30-40 years ago – the Channel Islands were more relaxed.

I can still travel to the C.I. via France and have just the 2hr GAR PN (the UK police used to hate that, and tried to assert it is illegal, which is nonsense) but since the ~2011 French police “work reduction measures” most French airports are 24hr PN (and the obvious stopping point, Cherbourg, is 24/48hr) so that doesn’t help

The only way to go to the C.I. “fast” is via LFAT but that is a huge detour of about 1hr.

I can sort of understand this for travel from (northern) Ireland

Not really; the IRA is finished. N.I. is a vast council estate now

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

Please email them and tell them the “authority to travel” is probably an illegal statement (for people not needing a visa).

We have been around this one before, when the police started phoning people at 3am with a “PFT” (“permission to fly”) number. I always told the officer this is illegal and there is no such thing. The law calls for prior notice only. There is however this possible exception which was laboriously unearthed a while ago.

If this is illegal we should all email them.

The law has actually changed on this – i.e. it is no longer a purely “PN only” arrangement. The “authority to carry” scheme now applies to to general aviation. See here for further details. The legal basis for this seems to be the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Carriers (GA operators, airlines, etc.) are required to submit advance passenger information and seek confirmation that the passenger has valid permission to travel (e.g. a visa, or, in the future, an electronic travel authority) (or an exemption). UK / Irish citizens do not need authority, but one still has to submit details in advance.

EGTF, United Kingdom
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