With a UK visa, you can visit four beautiful countries in the United Kingdom – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Processing a pre-approved UK tourist visa is, however, not required for many countries. They have the privilege of visa exemption for short stays in the UK. Recently, there has been a confirmation that there will be a slight change in how these citizens can travel to the UK in the coming years. In the light of the impending implementation of ETA- Electronic Travel Authorization, they will have to undergo an additional formality.
Here’s a quick overview to help you understand this travel permit.
ETA Visa: An Overview
- An ETA visa is not to be confused with a UK visit visa for the purpose of entering the UK. An Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is a document required by visa-exempt countries to apply for and register before arriving in the UK.
- By requiring visitors to register with travel registration, the UK Government is taking steps to keep a track of visitors overstaying on visa-exempt conditions while in the country or visiting the country on an electronic visa waiver. Those with visa-free or visa-waiver status are allowed to enter the UK with this travel formality, which functions more like a permit document that allows them to gain entry.
- As a result of this travel formality, the UK border control officials can keep a track of the number of people entering and exiting the country and identify potential overstayers. In addition, the UK border control officials will have enough time to understand if there is a potential risk of concerned individuals arriving in the country.
Who Can Apply For ETA Visa?
- The United Kingdom ETA visa applies to individuals who can obtain a UK visa waiver or visa exemption for a social visit or take part in leisure activities or business events in the UK for a short period of time.
- In other words, it means that citizens who need to apply for a UK visit visa before arriving in the UK are not required to apply for an ETA.
- If you want to travel to the UK from countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Japan, to name a few, then you will need to apply for a UK ETA visa. A number of European Economic Area member states and Middle Eastern nations such as UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia will also require the submission of an ETA before their arrival in the United Kingdom.
UK ETA Application Procedure: What to Do and How to Do it
- If you are wondering ‘How to apply for a UK ETA Visa?’, you can easily do so online but before the commencement of travel to the UK. It is a requirement that the traveller has a copy of the proof of registration to ETA before boarding a flight to the UK. An ETA in a way can be compared to the ‘OK to Board’ in the UAE or the ESTA in the USA. Having this tag on the traveller is for the purpose of determining whether the traveller is eligible to travel to the UK under the visa waiver or exemption program.
- A visitor who wishes to obtain a UK ETA needs to fill out an online application form containing his or her personal information as well as passport information and travel information and pay a fee.
- An application can be completed in less than 15 minutes, once it has been submitted, the traveller will be notified via email within 78 hours of the application being approved.
- Prior to boarding a flight to the United Kingdom, you will be required to present this approved document. Without this, travellers will be denied permission to board the flight to the UK.
- The UK ETA will be valid for 2 years once you receive the approval, therefore the UK visitor will not have to apply again for an ETA if he or she is permitted to enter the UK without a pre-approved UK tourist visa. It is recommended that you complete this formality at least a week before your departure date in order to avoid any last-minute hassles.
ETA visa Fee
The ETA for the United Kingdom is still in its early phases and is preparing to launch in the near future, so the visa fees haven’t been implemented, but they may vary based on an individual’s citizenship.
Like any visa formality, this travel document only allows you to travel to the designated country. It is up to the Immigration officer at the airport where you arrived in the UK to decide whether or not you are eligible to enter the country. If you have a valid UK ETA visa in hand, then you may be able to board your flight to the UK, but in case the Immigration official at the UK airport deems that you cannot enter the country for some particular reason, then you will have to adhere to his decision and follow through with it. ETA is an added layer of security to your travel status, and it will be mandatory for several nationalities that are currently able to visit the UK with just a valid passport, a well-planned itinerary, confirmed return tickets, and enough funds for a comfortable stay in the UK.
ETA Visa is the newly added convenience for people travelling to the UK. So, if you are a non-visa national, know all the policies of ETA Visa and fly hassle-free.