The United Kingdom (U.K.) will soon require incoming international visitors to get a British entry permit document known as the Electronic Travel Authorisation UK in order to fulfill its goal of fully automating border procedures by 2025. (ETA UK).
It should be highlighted that all international visitors seeking to enter or transit the UK, including those who are citizens of visa-free nations like the United States, will be required to obtain ETA UK clearance.
The UK government stated in its statement that “The ETA is not a visa. Travelers from the US, Canada, and Europe will continue to be exempt from visa requirements, but they will still require an ETA to enter the UK. All visitors, including those going to the UK for business, pleasure, short-term study, or medical treatment, will be subject to the requirement.
As part of a broader “license to travel” concept, the ETA system aims to enhance border control procedures in the United Kingdom and streamline entry and leave procedures.
The new method of British entry permit document would give authorities more precise information about immigration, according to Home Secretary Priti Patel. Shortly put, the ETA UK’s implementation will function by screening visitors before they enter the nation, which will also help identify potential security risks sooner.
Surveys taken at ports of entry are currently used to estimate the number of visitors to the UK and their countries of origin, however these results are not reliable.
Additionally, even if it could appear restricted at first glance, it appears that the adjustment might also be advantageous for travelers, at least in terms of simplicity and convenience. Without needing to travel to a UK Embassy, you may submit your application online, and it should just take a few minutes to complete.
A valid passport, some personal information, the specifics of your vacation itinerary, and a debit or credit card are required. A minor cost is almost certainly included.
Applications will be processed automatically thanks to the miracles of technology, with ETA employees only getting involved when complicated decisions and reviews are required. The majority of people will get their ETA UK authorisation promptly, usually in less than 48 hours.
The European Union’s planned digital visa waiver scheme, European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), whose release has been postponed until November 2023, and the upcoming ETA UK requirement were both cited as similarities by the British government, according to The Points Guy.
In truth, it claimed that the ETA UK is modeled on the US ESTA program. Therefore, even if specifics on the permitted length of stays have not yet been disclosed, it is probable that the digital authorization will be valid for at least two years and several trips. The majority of visa-free tourists are currently permitted to stay in the UK for up to six months or two years with a visa.
Applications have not yet begun, and the British Home Office has not given a set date for the start of the online procedure. The ETA system will be launched in early 2023 and will be completely operational by the end of the same year, according to the U.K. government.