This autumn, the UK will initiate the initial phase of its gradual introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme, designed to enhance border security and streamline travel. Here are the key details:

  • The ETA is a digital “permission to travel” system.
  • It applies to visitors not requiring a visa for short UK stays or lacking prior UK immigration status.
  • The Home Office has released guidance ahead of its launch for Qatari nationals on October 25.

Who Needs an ETA?

  • ETA is required for those visiting the UK for tourism, visiting family/friends, business, short-term study (up to 6 months), or under the Creative Worker visa concession (up to 3 months).
  • Not needed if you have a British/Irish passport, UK residency/work/study permission, or a UK visa.

Application Process:

  • Apply through the UK ETA app or GOV.UK website.
  • Apply before booking travel.
  • Each traveler, including children, must have their ETA.
  • Fee: £10 per applicant.
  • Fast processing; most get a response in 3 working days.

At the Border:

  • ETA valid for multiple journeys over 2 years or until your passport expires.
  • ETA grants travel permission but doesn’t guarantee entry; passport control required.
  • Digital ETA linked to your passport; no need for a paper copy.
  • Use the same passport you used for ETA application.

Key Dates:

  • Qatari travelers need ETA from November 15, 2023; applications open from October 25.
  • Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE require ETA from February 22, 2024; applications open from February 1, 2024.
  • ETA will expand to more nationalities in the future.

Stay Informed:

  • Smith Stone Walters will provide updates on the ETA rollout.
  • Sign up for free immigration news updates.
  • Contact for specific immigration inquiries.

Stay up-to-date with UK immigration news by signing up for our free news service or contacting our advisors for personalized assistance.

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