On October 25, 2023, the UK government will introduce the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) programme, which is a major step towards improving border security and enabling more precise data collecting.
Travellers who ordinarily wouldn’t need a visa to enter the UK will now have to obtain digital authorization in order to enter the nation or transit it.
The ETA programme will first be made available to citizens of Qatar, who are already eligible to enter the UK under the Electronic Visa Waiver programme.
For citizens of Qatar, this system will be replaced by the ETA method, with travel starting on November 15. On the other hand, ETA applications will be accepted beginning on October 25. After then, in stages during 2024, the programme will be broadened to accommodate visitors of additional nationalities.
The principal aim of the ETA system is to facilitate more accurate data collection regarding the quantity of people travelling to the UK and their countries of origin. As a result, authorities will be able to screen travellers prior to their departure, strengthening border security by giving them a head start in identifying potential security risks.
It’s crucial to remember that the establishment of an ETA is not a completely new idea in the world. While other nations, like as Canada and New Zealand, have already set up comparable systems, the United States is the one operating the ESTA plan. Furthermore, it has been mentioned that the Five-Eyes Intelligence Alliance’s security goals between the USA and the CANZUK countries will be furthered by the ETA, which will boost cooperation between the five countries.
Who need an ETA?
All citizens of Europe and those from other nations who normally do not need a visa to enter the UK, whether for travel or business, will be required to get an ETA, with very few exceptions.
Furthermore, in order to take advantage of the Creative Worker Visa concession, Creative Workers who are travelling to the UK for three months or less must apply for an ETA.
Yet, a number of people are exempt from this rule, including: citizens of the United Kingdom and Ireland; non-Irish citizens lawfully residing in Ireland who are travelling to the United Kingdom from another location within the Common Travel Area; people required to apply for a visa in order to enter the United Kingdom, as they will not require an ETA; and people who already have a visa or other authorization to enter the United Kingdom, such as status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The application process
Travellers may have to complete an extra administrative step as a result of the ETA system, but the application process should be simple to use and supported by either an online form or a mobile app. An ETA will set you back a fair £10, which is a small price to pay in comparison to the cost of a UK visa.
The following elements must be provided by travellers: a current photo of oneself; basic personal information; passport information; and security-related information.
An ETA will remain in effect for two years, or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever happens first. This makes it possible to visit the UK several times with a single permit.
It is best to finish the application procedure at least three days prior to the planned travel date, even though many may be accepted in a matter of minutes. It is significant to remember that an application that is denied cannot be appealed. In these situations, people could think about reapplying, but it’s important to address the reason behind the first denial.
As an alternative, they can look into applying for a regular visit visa, which would enable them to provide more details and supporting documents to allay any worries the Home Office might have about their trip to the UK.
Travellers can visit the UK Government website for further information.