United Kingdom: Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme

in brief

As part of the UK Government’s Universal Authorization to Travel requirement, an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme will be introduced for individuals (excluding British and Irish citizens) visiting the UK who do not currently need or do not need a short stay visa. Have immigration status before travel. The program will be implemented in stages beginning in January 2023 with the goal of being fully operational by the end of 2024. The ETA program is implemented to strengthen security checks at an earlier stage and block entry to those considered a possible threat. UK.

The ETA program is expected to unfold in the following stages:

  • Quarter 1: First Release – Private Beta Testing
  • End of Q1 to start of Q3: Second release – Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia
  • End of Q2 onwards: Third Edition – Rest of the World
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What this means for travelers visiting the UK

  • What is ETA? ETA is not a visa. It is a digital travel authorization similar to the systems used in other countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and from November 2023, the European Union – under the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) – to keep their countries safe and secure.
  • Who needs an ETA? The ETA scheme will apply to non-visa citizens who can enter the UK without a visit or transit visa, such as those from the USA, EEA, Canada, etc. The scheme will not apply to British and Irish citizens or those who have already received a visa or immigration status electronically before the trip, as they will have already completed the various security checks during the visa application process.
  • How to apply for an ETA: The applications will be made online through a dedicated website and will be similar to the systems used by other countries.
  • When to apply: The application must be submitted and approved before traveling to the UK. Carriers will be expected to verify the status of travelers to ensure they have the appropriate authorization to travel before entering the UK.
  • Is there a fee? A fee is expected to be collected for the application and this will be published in due course.
  • Considerations: The program is still under development and the full guidelines have not been released. Employers should ensure that relevant employees obtain an ETA before traveling to the UK.
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