Ahead of the full integration that is planned for the new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme in 2024, the government has announced that the scheme will be put in place for select visitors from as early as October 2023.
According to reports, the ETA scheme, a new addition to the UK travel system, will be in action for all travellers arriving in the UK from the Gulf Cooperation Council states and Jordan beginning in October of this year. This will begin prior to the complete introduction of the ETA scheme that is planned to come in 2024 for all travellers entering from outside the UK.
The very first travellers who will need to apply for an ETA in October will be Qatari travellers, followed by travellers from all other GCC states and Jordan, which will be introduced to the ETA scheme in February of 2024. By the end of 2024, it is intended for all non-British and Irish nationals from countries outside of the UK to be required to have an ETA.
A statement releasing this information was provided by the government on Thursday the 9th of March. According to the statement, the cost of an ETA “will be in line with similar international schemes, and individuals can make multiple visits to the UK over a two-year validity period”. This adheres to similar rules as the EU’s ETIAS scheme, which will cost €7 for a period of three years once it is introduced in 2024.
Travellers who are British and Irish nationals will not be required to have an ETA to travel to the UK unless they are arriving in the UK via Ireland. The government clarified that travellers who are legal residents of Ireland “will not need an ETA when travelling to the UK from within the Common Travel Area”.
As previously announced by government sources when discussing the introduction of the ETA scheme, travellers will be required to go through an application process that includes the requirement for biometric details and the answers to a set of suitability questions.
Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, said, “Strengthening our border remains one of the government’s top priorities. ETAs will enhance our border security by increasing our knowledge about those seeking to come to the UK and preventing the arrival of those who pose a threat.
“It will also improve travel for legitimate visitors, with those visiting from Gulf Cooperation Council states being among the first to benefit.”
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