The post-Brexit electronic regime will be launched for Qatari visitors this October and then offered to other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Jordan before being expanded to all applicable nations in 2024.
UK said the application process for ETA will be “quick, light touch and entirely digital”,
By Press Trust of India: The British government on Thursday unveiled a new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme to apply to non-visa national countries, such as the European Union (EU) member-states, after the UK’s exit from the 27-member bloc.
The post-Brexit electronic regime, which does not apply to visa national countries such as India, will launch for Qatari visitors in October this year and then be offered to other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Jordan before being expanded to all applicable nations in 2024.
The pre-travel ETA online application process will come with a fee, which the UK Home Office said will be in line with similar schemes around the world.
“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,” said UK Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick.
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“It will also improve travel for legitimate visitors, with those visiting from Gulf Cooperation Council states being among the first to benefit,” he said.
The Gulf countries have been chosen on the basis of travel volumes from such countries, which operate under a visa waiver system. Other countries to be covered under the scheme by next year will include EU member states, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other nations currently on the UK’s visa-waiver list.
The Home Office said the application process for ETA will be “quick, light touch and entirely digital”, with most visitors applying via a mobile app and receiving a swift decision on their application. Once granted an ETA, individuals can make multiple visits to the UK over a two-year validity period.
“The scheme will also further strengthen our borders, by ensuring robust security checks are conducted on every visitor pre-travel,” the Home Office said.
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As part of the application process, individuals will need to provide biometric details and answer a set of suitability questions.
After the initial launch for Qatar, visitors from the rest of the GCC states and Jordan can apply for an ETA from February 2024. The Home Office said the new scheme will entirely replace the current Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) Scheme, which requires visitors to the UK from GCC states to pay a “higher cost” for a single-use visit.
“By the end of 2024, ETAs will be a requirement worldwide for visitors who do not need a visa for short stays, including those visiting from Europe. Visitors from Europe, and other nations such as America and Australia do not currently need to make any form of application to visit to the UK. However, this will change with the introduction of ETAs,” the Home Office said.
British and Irish nationals will not need an ETA to travel to the UK. As is currently the case, however, individuals arriving in the UK via Ireland, will still be subject to UK immigration requirements, including the need for visitors to have an ETA. Those legally resident in Ireland will not need an ETA when travelling to the UK from within the Common Travel Area.
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