The British government has announced a new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme, which will be implemented for non-visa national countries, such as EU member-states, post-Brexit. Set to launch in October 2022 for Qatari visitors; the scheme will initially cover other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Jordan before extending to all applicable nations by 2024.
The ETA online application process will come with a fee, in line with similar schemes implemented globally. The scheme aims to bolster border security by increasing the knowledge of those seeking to enter the UK, thus preventing the arrival of potential threats. The Gulf countries have been chosen due to travel volumes from these countries, which operate under a visa waiver system. By next year, the ETA scheme will include EU member states, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries currently on the UK’s visa-waiver list.
The digital application process for an ETA will be quick and straightforward, with most applicants utilising a mobile app and receiving prompt decisions on their application. Successful ETA applicants can visit the UK multiple times within a two-year period. The introduction of the ETA scheme will entirely replace the current Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) Scheme, which charges visitors to the UK from GCC states a higher fee for a single-use visit.
The ETA application process will require individuals to provide biometric details and answer suitability questions. By the end of 2024, the ETA scheme will be a requirement worldwide for visitors who do not require a visa for short stays, including those visiting from Europe. British and Irish nationals will not need an ETA to travel to the UK.
The ETA scheme aims to enhance the travel experience for legitimate visitors while ensuring robust security checks for every traveller pre-travel. The Home Office hopes to prevent potential threats from entering the UK by thoroughly screening visitors through the ETA scheme. However, individuals entering the UK via Ireland will still be subject to UK immigration requirements, including the need for an ETA. Nevertheless, individuals legally residing in Ireland will not require an ETA when travelling to the UK within the Common Travel Area.
In a nutshell, The UK has recently launched an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme for visa-free entry into the country. This new scheme is expected to benefit travellers from Gulf nations by simplifying the visa application process and reducing wait times.
However, India has not been included in the ETA programme, and some people may question the rationale behind this decision. It remains to be seen whether the UK government will reconsider its decision and include India in the scheme in the near future.
Overall, the ETA scheme is likely to positively impact tourism and travel to the UK from Gulf nations, making it easier and more accessible for travellers to visit the country.
What do you think of this newly launched ETA scheme by UK? How greatly you think will it benefit the travellers from Gulf nations? Share your views in the comments.
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