The United Kingdom will implement a travel authorization requirement – the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) – in November 2023, but this requirement will not apply to EU citizens until the following year.
It is reported that an ETA is a new requirement that will soon be implemented for those who do not require a visa to enter the United Kingdom. According to data provided by the UK government, EU nationals will not be required to obtain an ETA until after February 2024.
The UK government has already announced that as of November 15, 2023, Qatari citizens will require an ETA to enter the country.
In addition, nationals of another six countries — Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — will be required to obtain an ETA beginning on February 22, 2024, and it was emphasised that additional countries will be added to the scheme in the future.
This indicates that EU citizens will not be required to obtain an ETA this year, as none of the EU member states are currently on the list.
All individuals who obtain an ETA when required will be permitted to enter and remain in the United Kingdom for up to six months to visit family and friends, as well as for business, travel, or academic purposes.
ETA holders will also be permitted to enter and remain in the United Kingdom for up to three months under the Creative Worker visa concession, and they will be permitted to transit through the country.
The application for an ETA must be submitted through the UK ETA app or the official government website.
According to British authorities, the processing time will be approximately three business days. Depending on whether the authorities need to conduct additional checks, the process could take more or fewer days.
“You’ll need to apply on the UK ETA app or online on GOV.UK. You’ll usually get a decision within three working days, but you may get a quicker decision. It may take longer than three working days if we need to make further checks,” according to a government statement.
As for the exact cost of an ETA, no information is currently available, but it is anticipated that the cost will be less than when applying for a visa. Each traveller, including children, must submit a separate ETA application; once approved, everyone will receive an email confirmation.
By introducing the ETA, the United Kingdom intends to enhance its borders and security. Similar systems exist in a number of other nations, and the European Union is expected to launch a system of its own soon – the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).