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A significant development unfolds for international travel as the United Kingdom launches its Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system for citizens of the UAE, other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and Jordan. Wego reports that starting from 22 February 2024, nationals from these regions will be required to obtain an ETA to travel to the UK. This new system aims to enhance UK border security and improve the travel experience for legitimate visitors.


Under the ETA scheme, nationals of GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) and Jordan are eligible to make unlimited visits to the UK over a two-year period or until their passport expires, whichever comes first, for a fee of just GBP 10. This new arrangement significantly reduces the cost of travel to the UK for these visitors, who previously incurred higher fees through the electronic visa waiver scheme.

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The ETA replaces the electronic visa waiver (EVW) and eliminates the visa requirement for short stays in the UK. The application process is entirely digital and can be completed using a mobile phone app. Applicants are required to provide biographic and biometric details, as well as answer suitability questions. Once approved, the ETA is digitally linked to the applicant’s passport, with the majority of decisions being made within hours.

For Gulf nationals, including those from the UAE, the ETA marks a notable shift in the visa application process. Starting today, 2 February 2024, UAE citizens can submit their applications for the Electronic Travel Authorization, granting them the privilege of visa-free entry to the United Kingdom. This move is expected to have a positive impact on tourism and business relations between the two regions.


For travelers unfamiliar with the process, obtaining an ETA involves a straightforward online application. Applicants will be required to provide basic personal information, travel details, and other necessary documentation. The system’s user-friendly nature aims to make the application process accessible to a wide audience, catering to both seasoned and first-time travelers.