UK To Implement Electronic Travel Authorisation Scheme
As part of the UK's New Plan for Immigration, a new Permission to Travel scheme is set to launch this year which will require everyone wanting to travel to the UK to seek permission before heading to the UK.
The scheme will be implemented for “non-visa nationals” who do not require a visa before travelling to the UK and nationalities entitled to the Electronic Visa Waiver. Those eligible will receive a pre-approved digital travel authorisation to enter the UK.
The UK government aims to strengthen security checks in advance of an individual’s arrival which should also result in a more seamless entry process at the UK border for all travellers.
This scheme will be rolled out in stages and is anticipated to be fully in force by the end of 2024.
In the first quarter of 2023, the first stage will be rolled out in private beta testing. The second will see the scheme rolled out to nationals of Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, and the third to the rest of the eligible nationalities.
Who Needs An Electronic Travel Authorisation To Enter the UK?
The full list of eligible countries is yet to be confirmed but it is expected that visa-exempt nationals such as those from EEA member states, Australia, USA, New Zealand, Japan, etc will need to apply prior to entering the UK.
It will also be rolled out for the Gulf States currently eligible for the Electronic Visa Waiver.
It will not be required for British or Irish nationals or those with valid permission to enter or remain in the UK.
The ETA will be required for those wishing to enter the UK for transit purposes or as visitors for Tourism, Business, Short Term study, and Medical Treatment.
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ETA Application Process
The entire procedure is online and should last only a few minutes. Individuals applying for an ETA will be required to complete a short application form and provide their biographic, biometric, and contact details.
This information will then be checked and assessed to determine whether the person can travel to the UK. Individuals are expected to receive their ETA within a short time of submitting their application.
It should be noted that ETA is not a visa.
Fees have yet to be released although it is likely to be in line with similar schemes available in countries such as the USA, Australia, and Canada.
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