There are a number of requirements that foreign visitors to Great Britain must meet in order to be granted a UK Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
An eTA for the United Kingdom is one of the simplest and fastest methods of gaining permission to enter the country.
It is not possible to enter the UK without a valid visa or visa waiver unless the passport holder is from a nation with a visa-free agreement with Britain. Applying for a full UK visa often requires a trip to a British foreign mission and approval can take up to 3 weeks.
In the case of a UK eTA however, the whole application process is managed completely online and approval can be given in around 72 hours. It allows foreign visitors to stay in the UK for up to 90 days per visit and to enter the country for a number of different purposes.
This page explains the conditions that travellers to the UK will have to meet in order to enter the country securely. It clearly details the following:
- Who is eligible for an eTA
- What items are necessary for the UK eTA
- What conditions apply when entering the UK
Which citizens are eligible for a UK eTA?
The UK eTA is yet to be launched. It will allow visitors from non-visa national (NVN) countries coming to Britain for tourism, and business purposes to take advantage of a faster and more manageable process of registering for an entry permit than other nations.
However, it is possible that more countries will be added to this system in the future. Once Britain has left the European Union’s governing framework entirely following a Brexit transition period, it is anticipated that visitors from the European Economic Area (EEA) will also need an eTA to enter Britain for short visits.
Countries that are currently members of the EEA include:
Citizens of non-eligible nationalities
Citizens of all other nationalities without a visa-free agreement with the UK must instead apply for another applicable type of UK visa. In most situations, this necessitates visiting a local embassy or consulate for the United Kingdom.
This process is a slower one than applying for an eTA online. Depending on the type of visa and the candidate’s situation, a decision can take 3 weeks (not accounting for delays). Therefore, it’s advised to allow enough time to submit an application before arrival in Britain.
What documents are required for a UK eTA?
To apply successfully for an eTA for Great Britain, registrants will need to have a number of essential items available. These will help in completing the online form and successfully registering for the visa waiver.
When filling out an application, you will need:
- A valid, biometric, national passport from an eligible country
- An active email address
- Travel itinerary details
- An accommodation address in Britain
- A credit or debit card
Conditions for arriving with a UK eTA
When passing through UK immigration it’s necessary to present a registered passport as well as a digital or paper copy of an approved UK eTA. A member of the UK Border Force will then check that the documents are correct and will be able to grant entry to the country.
However, dual nationals and those with multiple passports must enter the UK with the same document used during the registration process for the Electronic Travel Authorization. Arriving in Britain with a different passport to the one electronically connected to an eTA will invalidate the visa waiver.