The UK's Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA): Explained
The United Kingdom will start to roll out an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) program from late 2023. The ETA is a new requirement for people who don’t need a visa to come to the UK, but will give permission for travellers to visit.
In these insights we’ll share:
· What is the UK Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)?
· Who will need a UK ETA?
· How do you get a UK ETA?
· How much does a UK ETA cost?
What is the UK Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)?
The Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) works similarly to the US ESTA and the European Union’s ETIAS, working as a security measure for those travelling to the UK that don’t need a visa.
Those that apply for a ETA will be given permission to enter the UK, and be able to:
- Spend up to six months in the UK for tourism, visiting friends and family, business or study.
- Spend up to three months in the UK on the Creative Worker visa concession.
- Transit through the UK.
An approved ETA will be valid for two years and can be used for multiple visits to the UK. If a traveller gets a new passport in that time, they will need to get a new ETA.
Who will need an ETA?
The ETA will initially be required for travellers visiting from various countries in the Middle East and replaces the current Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) scheme.
From 15 November 2023, Qatari visitors will be required to hold an ETA to enter the UK. Applications will open 25 October 2023.
Then from 22nd February 2024, you’ll need an ETA if you’re a national of these countries:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
More countries will be added to the scheme later in 2024.
Who will not need an ETA?
Those with a British or Irish passport will not need to apply for an ETA. You also don’t have to apply if you already have permission to live, work or study in the UK, or if you have a visa to enter the UK.
If you’re a legal resident of Ireland and don’t need a visa to visit the UK, you won’t need an ETA if you’re entering the UK from Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey or Isle of Man.
How do you get an UK ETA?
There will be an UK ETA app, or travellers can apply on www.gov.uk. You can apply on behalf of others.
After filling in the form, travellers are expected to get a decision within three working days. It may take longer if further checks are needed.
If approved, travellers will get an email confirmation to their decided email address, and the ETA will be electronically linked to the passport they applied with.
If it’s refused, travellers will either need to apply for a standard visa, apply for a temporary work visa, or get a transit visa.
How much does a UK ETA cost?
A UK ETA will cost £10.
How long is the ETA valid for?
Once approved, the UK ETA will be valid for two years, and can be used for multiple visits to the UK.
If your passport expires during that period, you will need to get a new ETA.
Where can I find more information?
Full details are on the UK Government's website here.