Fingerprints Required for Britain Visas

 LONDON (AP) – All visitors to Britain requiring visas will have to be fingerprinted starting Monday, the government said.

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said those applying for a British visa from any of 133 countries would now have their fingerprints checked against a database.

Byrne said the system, which the government has gradually been introducing around the world since September 2006, had already captured biometric information from more than 1 million people. He said the system had flagged nearly 500 cases of identity fraud.

Logging and checking visitors’ biometric information is one of the central planks of the government’s new immigration strategy, which includes the introduction of an Australian-style points system intended to select encourage skilled immigrants, the creation of police-like border force and fines for bosses who do not ensure their employees are legally entitled to work in Britain.

Tourists from the United States and the European Union, who do not require visas for short visits to Britain, will not be fingerprinted.