The New ETA Scheme
The introduction of ETA permits is a new requirement for those who do not currently need a visa to visit the UK and the Home Office believes it will play a crucial role in improving the country’s security.
From the end of 2024, visitors who do not require a visa to come to the UK for a short stay will have to ensure they have a valid ETA, otherwise, they could be refused entry.
Each ETA will be linked to the traveller’s passport and cost £10. An ETA will be valid for unlimited trips within two years or until the holder’s passport expires – whichever happens first.
The UK’s Role as a Transport Hub
However, some travel companies have raised concerns that the ETAs could lead to a fall in the global competitiveness of the UK as a holiday destination due to the additional paperwork required. Especially as an ETA will be a requirement for all travellers even if they are just transiting through the UK.
Speaking to the Independent, Paul Charles, former Virgin Atlantic Communications Director, explained some travellers could look for an alternative route that does not require a permit and this could impact many UK airports.
He added: “BA and Virgin Atlantic rely on transit passengers to fill their long-haul flights, make a profit and employ more people. Taxing transit will turn away tens of thousands of people who will find an easier hub.”
Applying for an ETA
Anyone needing an ETA can do it online or via an app. They must provide biometric information and answer questions about their criminal and immigration history.
The Home Office has estimated that travellers will receive a decision on their application within three days.
Qatar citizens will be the first to require an ETA to travel to the UK when the scheme is rolled out in November this year, while other countries can expect to be added to the list throughout 2024.
It has been confirmed that UK and Ireland passport holders, those with permission to study or work in the UK or anyone with a valid UK visa on entry will not be required to have an ETA.
Last modified on June 28th, 2023 at 1:15 pm
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