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UK opens electronic travel authorisation scheme

The UK’s electronic travel authorisation (ETA) scheme has officially opened for Qatari nationals who, from today, need one to travel to the UK. 

This demonstrates the UK government’s delivery in transforming and digitising the UK border, enabling an increasingly seamless customer experience in the future for the millions of legitimate visitors who come to the UK.

Qataris have been able to apply for their ETA since 25 October 2023, with most doing so using the mobile app, which allows for a simple and fast application. 

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Nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Jordan will need an ETA if they’re visiting the UK from 22 February 2024, and can apply for their ETA from 1 February 2024. 

ETAs are replacing Electronic Visa Waivers (EVW) which the majority of Gulf nationals currently apply for. An ETA is an improvement from the EVW, being a third of the price at £10 and allowing unlimited visits to the UK over two years, or until the holder’s passport expires – whichever is sooner. The move to the ETA scheme means that the visa requirement will be removed for short stays to the UK for nationals from the Gulf and Jordan. 

When applying for an ETA, applicants need to provide biographic and biometric information, and answer questions on suitability and criminality. The application process ensures that those who pose a danger to the UK’s security, such as criminals, are not allowed to travel here. Once individuals have successfully applied, their ETA is digitally linked to their passport.  

While the standard processing time for an application is 3 working days, the majority of applications so far have been decided within hours.  

See: UK opens electronic travel authorisation scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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