This article is reviewed regularly by Wego‘s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate.

Updated June 2023

The UK government announced that the United Kingdom will soon require travellers from visa-free countries to obtain a UK entry permit document called the ETA UK for entry into the country. The ETA UK, or the Electronic Travel Authorization, is mainly being introduced with the intention of improving UK border control measures and optimising its entry and exit processes as part of a wider “permission to travel” policy.

Keep reading to find out more about the UK’s travel permit document, namely, the ETA UK

ETA UK 2023 news

As announced by the authorities, by the end of 2024, ETAs will be a requirement worldwide for visitors who do not need a visa for short stays, including those visiting from Europe. Visitors from Europe and other nations, including America and Australia, do not currently need to make any form of application to visit the UK. However, this will change with the introduction of ETAs.

After the initial launch for Qatar in October 2023, visitors from the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Jordan can apply for an ETA from February 2024. The new scheme will entirely replace the current Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) Scheme, which requires travellers to the UK from GCC states to pay a higher cost for a single-use visit.

According to the officials, the scheme will also further strengthen UK’s border by ensuring robust security checks are conducted on every visitor pre-travel.

ETA UK 2023

An Electronic Travel Authorisation, or ETA UK, is a new requirement for travellers who do not need a visa to come to the UK. It gives visitors permission to travel to the UK, and it is electronically linked to their passports. An ETA UK is required to:

  • come to the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, visiting family and friends, business or study
  • come to the UK for up to 3 months on the Creative Worker visa concession
  • transit through the UK, including if travellers not going through UK border control

Although the applications for the ETA UK have not opened yet, the UK travel permit will likely be valid for at least two years and allow travellers multiple trips to the UK.

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ETA UK countries

The following are some of the countries which require and do not require an ETA to travel to the UK:

Countries that require ETA UK

Effective October 2023, nationals of Qatar will require an ETA for travelling to the UK.

Furthermore, starting 22 February 2024, nationals from the following countries travelling to the UK will require an ETA:

  • Bahrain
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates

Please note that we will update the list as and when more nationalities are added to the scheme.

Countries that do not require ETA UK

Applicants will not need an ETA if they have either:

  • a British or Irish passport
  • permission to live, work or study in the UK
  • a visa to enter the UK

Moreover, travellers who are legal residents of Ireland and do not need a visa to visit the UK will also not need an ETA if they’re entering the UK from either:

  • Ireland
  • Guernsey
  • Jersey
  • Isle of Man

ETA UK requirements

According to the officials, as a part of the ETA UK application process, travellers will be required to provide biometric details and answer a set of suitability questions. This will ensure we have information on those seeking to come to the UK, helping to prevent dangerous individuals, such as criminals, from entering the UK.

Please note that we will update the details as and when they are released by the officials.

ETA UK validity

According to the GOV.UK website, an ETA will be valid for 2 years. However, if an applicant’s passport expires in less than 2 years, they will be required to get a new ETA for entry into the UK.

Holders of the ETA UK can use it to make multiple visits to the UK. Nonetheless, they are still required to either use an ePassport gate if they are eligible or see a Border Force officer to enter the UK.

Please note that an ETA does not guarantee entry to the UK.

How to apply for the ETA UK?

Although the online application for ETA UK has not been released yet, the ETA UK can either be applied through the UK ETA application or online on GOV.UK website. You can also apply on behalf of others.

After applying for the ETA you will receive an email confirmation if your application is approved. The ETA will further be electronically linked to the passport you applied with. Please make sure to use the same passport for travelling.

Please note that each traveller must get their own ETA, including children and babies.

ETA UK processing time

Travellers can usually get a decision on their ETA UK application within 3 working days, or they may even get a quicker decision.

However, it may also take longer than 3 working days if the authorities need to make further checks.

ETA UK fee

The UK’s new ETA will cost visitors to the country GBP 10 (USD 12) when it starts being phased in later this year.

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