ETA stands for Electronic Travel Authorisation. Those nationals who do not usually require a short-term visa to the UK will soon need to apply for permission to come to the UK electronically before embarking on their journey.
What is an ETA?
An ETA is a new requirement for people who do not need a visa to come to the UK. It gives you permission to travel to the UK, and it is electronically linked to your passport. It is less burdensome than a traditional visitor visa application. However, if you fail to obtain an ETA in advance of travelling, you may be denied entry at the border.
Who will require an ETA?
The ETA scheme is being rolled out stage-by-stage. This scheme will apply for Qatari nationals from 15 November 2023 (applications can be submitted from 25 October 2023) and to other nationals later on.
You’ll need an ETA to:
- come to the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, visiting family and friends, business or study
- come to the UK for up to 3 months on the Creative Worker visa concession
- transit through the UK – including if you’re not going through UK border control
If you are a national of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, or Saudi Arabia, this scheme will be applicable from 22 February 2024.
Please note that this scheme does not apply to British or Irish passport holders, UK visa holders (e.g. work, study etc.) and lawful residents of Ireland, subject to meeting the requirements.
How should I apply?
The ETA scheme is yet to commence and, therefore, the information available on the requirements to apply is limited. Currently, the application fee under this scheme is £10. As per the published processing time frame, an ETA application will be considered within 3 working days, subject to any delays by the Home Office. As such, it is important to plan ahead of travel and submit this application.
If the application is approved, the approval notice will be sent to your email. The approved ETA is valid for 2 years from the date of grant or until the expiry of your passport (whichever is earlier). Since the ETA will be linked to your passport, you need to travel to the UK using the same passport or apply for a new ETA as necessary. The ETA can be used for multiple trips of entry through the e-passport gate or the Border Control office.
In the event that your ETA application is refused, you will need to apply for a UK visit visa, creative worker visa or transit visa as needed, before entering the UK.
It should be noted that an ETA does not guarantee entry into the UK and you can still be denied entry at the border, or have your ETA cancelled if the Home Office deems it necessary.
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 Twitter, 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.