The UK has recently introduced a new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) Scheme, which will mostly affect travel to the UK for businesses and tourists. The ETA is not a visa, and it will not permit you to live or work in the UK. Instead, it is a digital authorisation which will allow you travel to the UK for tourism or business purposes.
This new scheme will apply to individuals who are currently not required to make a visa application before visiting the UK. Those who will now have to obtain an ETA before travelling to the UK include nationals from the EU, US, Canada and Australia. This blog will look into the countries that are currently subject to the ETA Scheme, and those who do not need to obtain it.
The ETA Scheme has already been rolled out for Qatari nationals travelling to the UK. In addition, from 1 February 2024, nationals of the following countries must apply for an ETA prior to travelling to the UK, if their trip is set to start on or after 22 February 2024:
- United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
Although you will now be required to apply for an ETA approval prior to travelling, this will exempt you from further needing a Visit visa, which is a far more complex application process. By the end of 2024, we should expect that all Non-Visa Nationals will be required to secure an ETA before travelling to the UK.
You will not need to obtain an ETA if you are:
- A British or Irish citizen
- A UK visa holder
- A settled person in the UK
- A British Overseas Territory Citizen travelling on this passport
You can apply for an ETA by using the ‘UK ETA’ App, or via the website. This is a simple online process that will require you to complete a form and scan your face against your passport to verify your identity. The application cost will be £10 per applicant, and it should be processed within 3 working days of submission. If you need to travel to the UK urgently, you are permitted to travel whilst your application is pending. When granted, the ETA will be valid for two years or until the date your passport expires, whichever is sooner. Although the ETA permission varies to the Visitor visa, you must still comply with the rules for visitors in the UK. We invite you to refer to our blog on the Recent Changes to the Visitor Rules.
How Gherson can assist
Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on X, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.