The UK Government has announced the introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme in phased stages. The ETA scheme will apply to third-country national (i.e., not British or Irish) passengers visiting the UK or transiting the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays and those using the Creative Worker route for a short stay.
The ETA application process will open on 25 October 2023 only for Qatari nationals who intend to travel to the UK on or after 15 November 2023.
The ETA application process will open on 1 February 2024 only for nationals of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirate or Saudi Arabia who intend to travel to the UK on or after 22 February 2024.
Permission to enter the UK may be refused if the person seeking entry is required under the immigration rules to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation before travel to the UK, and the person does not hold the required Electronic Travel Authorisation on arrival in the UK.
How to make an application for ETA
The application must be made using either the mobile application ‘UK ETA’ or the specified online form: ‘Apply for an ETA to come to the UK’; and
1) the applicant must provide an email address which can be used by the Home Office to contact them; and
2) pay the required fee; and
3) the applicant must provide a passport to confirm their identity and nationality; and
4) the applicant must provide a facial image which complies with the rules for digital photos on https://www.gov.uk/photos-for-passports; and
5) the applicant must be seeking permission to enter the UK as either:
(i) a Visitor (other than a Marriage/Civil Partnership Visitor), staying in the UK for up to 6 months; or
(ii) a Creative Worker.
The applications will be subject to suitability grounds and can be refused if there are any adverse factors such as criminality, previous breach of immigration laws and so on.
Period of grant of an ETA
An ETA will be valid for 2 years from the date of grant or until the expiry of the holder’s passport used in the ETA application, whichever is sooner.
A person holding a valid ETA may make multiple journeys to the UK as a visitor or creative worker.