US citizens will need to apply for a permit as soon as possible before their trips to the United Kingdom and pay a small fee to enter as part of the country’s upcoming electronic travel authorization program.
According to a UK official at the British Consulate General, the ETA project aims to secure the UK’s borders by providing more accurate data on who is crossing them. The move is part of the UK’s plan to fully digitize its borders by 2025.
“This plan will give the UK greater control over our borders, allowing us to prevent threats from entering the UK, while giving individuals and carriers greater assurance at an earlier stage about their ability to travel to the UK.” According to the UK government website.
The scheme, which will be fully implemented by the end of 2023, will apply to travelers visiting or traveling to the UK without a visa or special immigration status – including from visa-exempt nations such as the US – requiring “permission to travel”. However, the permit to travel through ETA is not a regular visa.
Travel difficulties:Why visa process ‘discourages visitors’ and separates families
Other countries already have an ETA process. In 2022, the U.S. implemented a requirement for certain visitors that would cost $21. The European Union is also looking to develop an ETA.
Here’s what we know so far about the UK’s upcoming ETA plan.
How does the ETA process work?
A new plan shouldn’t overburden your travel planning. According to officials, the application process is expected to be quick and easy.
The application process for ETA can be done online in a few minutes. Travelers must ensure they complete the process “a few days before (their) departure for the UK” To apply, people will need a valid passport, travel details, a valid email address and a credit or debit card to pay online.
Typical processing time for approval is 48 to 72 hours. Any errors in your application may delay the processing time or reject it.
Once approved, you can stay in the UK for up to six months for business or tourism reasons. Short-term observation and clinical treatment are valid purposes for ETA.
Is Europe Cheaper to Travel Now?:It can be with these low cost airlines.
Having trouble getting a visa?:New website highlights passengers affected by ‘unconscionable’ waiting times
Who does ETA apply to?
Citizens without a visa must apply for an ETA. The list of confirmed countries will be announced later but includes:
- European union
- Other European countries such as Norway, Iceland, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Vatican City and Monaco
- Visa exempt countries like Australia, Canada and USA
How much does ETA cost?
According to officials, the fee will be small, but the exact price is yet to be announced.
How long is the ETA valid for? Do I need to apply for each trip?
The ETA is valid for two years and allows for multiple trips to the UK
What happens if I don’t apply for an ETA?
Clearance is confirmed prior to travel and carriers verify people’s forms either on a printed document or digitally. Showing up without a travel permit may result in fines.
The Nationality and Borders Bill would also make it a criminal offense for someone to use deception to obtain an ETA.