Global Alerts

United Kingdom- UK Electronic Travel Authorization scheme to launch in 2023

As part of the UK government’s New Plan for Immigration, a new Permission to Travel strategy is set to launch this year which will require everyone planning to travel to the UK to seek permission in advance. The Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) will be able to make the necessary security checks on travelers before they arrive in the UK.

Who needs to apply for an ETA?

The ETA is for visa-exempt travelers, otherwise known as non-visa nationals. Non-visa nationals are foreign citizens who can enter the UK for short stays without requiring a visa.

A full list of eligible countries has yet to be confirmed, but it is expected that travelers from the EU and other European countries will need to apply, as well as travelers from other visa-exempt countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

The ETA will allow eligible passport holders to enter the UK for up to six months for tourism or business purposes. However, an appropriate visa will need to be obtained for all other reasons for travel, such as working or residing long-term in Britain.

British and Irish citizens and individuals who hold valid UK immigration permissions will not be required to apply for an ETA before traveling.

How will the ETA scheme work?

Applying for an ETA will be a quick and easy process that will involve completing an online application form and paying a fee. The exact details of the scheme, including how much an ETA will cost, are yet to be announced.

To apply for an ETA, applicants will need:

  • A valid national biometric passport from an eligible country
  • Travel details
  • A valid email address
  • A credit or debit card.

Those applying for an ETA will need to disclose their reason for traveling and biographical information, physical characteristics, and contact details, as well as answer a short set of suitability questions. This information will be checked against Home Office systems and assessed to determine whether the person has permission to travel to the UK. The online form should take under 15 minutes to complete, and most customers will receive their ETA within 48 – 72 hours of submitting their application.

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