The UK government is set to implement a new digital system called the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) by 2024. This system will be mandatory for all international travelers entering the United Kingdom. However, the ETA process can be confusing for travelers, which is why UK-ETA is committed to providing current information and resources. To help shed more light on the ETA process, TechBullion interviewed the Editor In Chief at UK-ETA, Ryan Azimi.
- Please tell us more about yourself and your background.
My name is Ryan Azimi, and I am the Editor In Chief at UK-ETA.
I have over 5+ years of experience in the travel industry with a focus on immigration policy and migration trends.
Prior to UK-ETA, I also served as Editor In Chief at etias.com, a leading European immigration and policy media site. I enjoy connecting with leading policy makers and advisors across a range of EU government departments and am normally found traveling between London and Brussels.
- What is UK-ETA?
UK-ETA is an online resource simplifying the UK Electronic Transfer Application process through information, articles, and comprehensive guides.
We offer an application guide with detailed information on all things that travelers need to know about the process. UK-ETA.com also provides news and analysis on the ETA which will be fully live in 2024.
Planning to stay in the UK on a permanent basis? Traveling for business, or as a student? Don’t speak the language? At UK-ETA.com, we’ve got you covered for whatever your travel purposes to the United Kingdom.
- What prompted you to start UK-ETA?
With the world reopening amidst the 2020 pandemic, we wanted to be able to provide travelers with the best, most up-to-date resources available.
In 2021, British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, announced a digital travel authorisation system similar to the ESTA visa waiver system utilized by the United States since 2009. The name of this system is the UK ETA, or Electronic Travel Authorisation. Effective this year, travelers that were currently able to enter the UK without a visa will now need to apply for a UK ETA.
Understanding the changing travel rules and regulations can be difficult to keep up with, so it’s our mission at UK ETA to make information comprehensive, understandable and accessible to all. Our guides and articles will streamline travel to the UK.
- Who could benefit from UK-ETA’s resources?
Anyone traveling to the UK can benefit from our many resources. With the UK ETA to become fully operational by 2024, an estimated 30 million visitors will need to apply every year. This means that everyone should be informed and aware of the ETA process and requirements, which is what our guides and resources aim to do for the public.
We’ve found that it’s especially helpful for those traveling for tourism, business, or medical purposes, as these all have certain requirements for travel coming up in 2024.
- How does the UK Electronic Travel Authorisation application process work, and who needs to apply?
The process of applying for a UK electronic travel authorization (ETA) is simple and can be completed entirely online. Applicants are required to provide their personal information, travel details, passport information, as well as answer questions about their health and criminal history. After completing the application, the applicant pays a fee and submits it for review. However, it is important to note that the ETA does not guarantee entry into the UK and travelers may still be subject to immigration checks upon arrival.
The UK ETA will be mandatory for citizens of countries that previously did not require a visa to enter the UK, including but not limited to the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan.
- How long does it take to process an ETA application, and if approved, how long is it valid for?
It usually takes only 24 hours for a completed application to be processed, and once approved, the ETA is electronically linked to the traveler’s passport and is valid for up to two years or until the passport expires.
- Are there any exemptions or waivers for applying for an ETA?
Yes, there are a few exemptions. British passport holders are actually exempt entirely, so these individuals do not need to apply. Irish passport holders are also exempt from needing an ETA to enter the UK from 2024 onward.
Other types of British Nationals are also exempt from needing an ETA:
- British Overseas Territories citizens
- British Overseas Nationals
- British Overseas citizens
- British protected persons
- British subjects without the right of abode in the UK
- How does an ETA differ from a traditional visa?
An electronic travel authorization (ETA) differs from a traditional visa in that the application process is usually simpler and completed entirely online, it is typically granted for short-term visits up to 90 days, and it may not allow the same range of activities as a traditional visa, such as working or studying in the country. However, an ETA is generally less expensive than a traditional visa and can be a good option for travelers planning a short visit or do not require the additional privileges of a traditional visa.
- What are the support options available if a traveler has questions or issues with their ETA application?
UK-ETA has detailed, up-to-date guides on almost everything an individual would need to know regarding the ETA eligibility and requirements. Our ETA FAQ is a helpful place to start, but should a traveler have any additional questions not already covered, they can contact us via our online contact form here for more information.
- How will the ETA affect business travel to the UK?
Business travelers from countries that can travel visa-free for short stays will still be able to travel to the UK for business purposes without obtaining an ETA up until the system is launched in 2024. The ETA process will provide a faster and more streamlined way to obtain permission to enter the UK for business purposes. This could also apply for short-term visits, as the application process is simpler and faster than traditional visa applications.
However, for business travelers from countries that require a visa to enter the UK, such as China, India, Russia and many more, will be unaffected by the launch of the ETA and will still need to apply for the relevant UK business visas.
Overall, the ETA is likely to have a positive impact on business travel to the UK, making it easier and more efficient for eligible travelers to obtain authorization to enter the UK for business purposes.
- Do travelers need to present any additional documents or information upon arrival in the UK if they have an ETA?
While this does depend on what country you are traveling from, generally the answer is yes, you may need to show several documents at border control. This includes your identity document, such as your passport or national identity card, and in some situations, you might be asked to show proof of a medical record such as a negative COVID-19 test.
With an approved ETA, you can use it to make multiple visits to the UK for up to two years. Travelers will still need to either use an ePassport gate if eligible, or see a Border Force office to enter the UK.
- Where can readers find more information about UK-ETA?
For more information about UK-ETA and the Electronic Travel Authorisation, please visit https://uk-eta.com/.