Do you now need ETA – Electronic Travel Authorisation – to travel to the UK?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : You Need ETA To Travel To The UK!
A video clip called New UK travel requirements has gone viral on WhatsApp and social media. It warns that people who travel to the UK on or after 15 November 2023, must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).
This has led some people who already booked their flights to the UK to panic, as they were not aware of such requirements.
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Truth : UK ETA Only Required For Some Countries At The Moment
Here is what you need to know about the UK ETA programme, and what countries are affected.
Fact #1 : Video Is Genuine
First, I would like to point out that the video is genuine, and was originally posted by the UK Home Office on 9 March 2023.
It appears to have been edited and shared by Homely Stay UK on WhatsApp and social media, where it was shared without context, leading to mass panic.
Fact #2 : UK Will Soon Require ETA For Non-Visa Travellers
The warning is, of course, true – the United Kingdom will soon require non-visa travellers to apply and pay for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).
The ETA scheme is part of the UK’s plan to fully digitise its borders by 2025. But note that the ETA only applies to travellers who currently do NOT require a visa to travel to the UK.
An Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) will soon be a requirement for people who do not need a visa to come to the UK. It will give you permission to travel to the UK, and it will be electronically linked to your passport.
You’ll need an ETA to:
Once it is fully implemented, these travellers will not require an ETA to travel to the UK:
- a British or Irish passport
- permission to live, work, or study in the UK
- a visa to enter the UK
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Fact #3 : Only Qatar Affected In November 2023
What the video does not reveal is that only travellers from Qatar must have an ETA to travel to the UK from 15 November 2023 onwards.
No other country is affected by this 15 November 2023 deadline, only Qatar. So stop panicking!
If you’re from another country : You do not need to apply for an ETA now. More nationalities will be added to the scheme later.
Even if you are a resident of Qatar, there is no need to panic – you can only apply for an ETA from 25 October 2023 onwards.
Fact #4 : UK Will Rollout ETA Through 2024
The United Kingdom will slowly roll out its ETA programme throughout 2024.
From 22 February 2024 onwards, travellers from these six countries in the Middle East will need an ETA to travel to the UK:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
Even travellers from these countries do not need to apply until 1 February 2024 onwards.
The UK Home Office has not mentioned what countries will be affected next, but non-visa travellers from all other countries will need an ETA by 2025.
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Fact #5 : How Much Does ETA Cost?
Each traveller will require his or her own ETA, including children and babies. Each ETA will cost £10 per applicant.
Fact #6 : How Long Does Each ETA Last?
Your ETA will last for 2 years, and can use it to make multiple visits to the UK. However, you should know that having an ETA does not guarantee entry to the UK.
In addition, the ETA is not transferrable to a new / renewed passport. If your passport expires in less than 2 years, you will need to get a new ETA for your new / renewed passport.
Fact #7 : How To Apply For UK ETA
You can apply for yourself, or on the behalf of other travellers. There are two ways to apply for the UK ETA:
- using the UK ETA app (not available yet)
- apply online on GOV.UK (not available yet)
Note : Neither options are available yet, because the first day anyone can apply for a UK ETA is on 25 October 2023.
You will usually get a decision within 3 working days, but there may be delays if the UK government needs to make further checks. Once your ETA is approved, you will receive an email confirmation.
There is no ETA to print or bring with you. The ETA is linked electronically to the passport you applied with. You must therefore travel to the UK using the same passport.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
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