The UK Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for Spanish nationals is a digital visa waiver that is set to be introduced in the near future.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is currently in the process of leaving the European Union (EU) and once the transition period is complete, there will be a number of new UK immigration and visa policies.
The pre-Brexit agreements with the EU mean that Spanish citizens currently enjoy exemption from visa requirements for the UK and this is unlikely to change. The eTA is a planned additional entry requirement for visa-exempt visitors.
Do Spanish Citizens Need an eTA for the United Kingdom?
Citizens of EU member states, such as Spain, will need to register their details with the UK eTA system once it is launched.
Spanish nationals do not need a visa to visit the UK, as visitors from all EU countries are exempt. The eTA for the UK will simply be an additional entry requirement, which will allow travellers with this right to continue to visit the country without having to obtain a visa.
The UK Electronic Travel Authorization will permit visitors from Spain to enter the country for short stays for the purposes of tourism and business.
For longer stays or to relocate to the United Kingdom, a different type of permit or authorization may be required.
eTA UK Requirements as a Spanish National
Travellers from Spain must ensure that they comply with the UK eTA requirements before applying.
When completing the online form, Spanish applicants must have the following items to hand:
- Valid biometric Spanish passport
- Current email address
- Payment method (credit or debit card)
It is a requirement for visitors from Spain to submit the following information in their UK eTA application questionnaire:
- Basic personal data, e.g. full name, date of birth, nationality, etc.
- Passport information, e.g. passport number, date of expiry, etc.
- Contact details, e.g. contact phone number, email address, home address, etc.
- Travel itinerary
- Address of the place the visitor will be staying in the UK
When a Spanish national has obtained their eTA for the United Kingdom, they must travel to the country with the same passport whose details were registered in the online application. If a different passport is used, it could result in entry being denied, since the details will not match the eTA.
Once in the UK, visitors from Spain are required to abide by the terms of the eTA. This means that they may only remain in the country for the time permitted unless they obtain a new travel permit. They may not undertake activities that are not covered by the eTA, which is designated for tourism and business purposes.
How to Apply for an eTA UK From Spain
The Electronic Travel Authorization for the UK is obtained online. The streamlined digital system was designed to be user-friendly and avoids the need to make an appointment at a British embassy or consulate in order to apply. Spanish applicants simply need a device that is connected to the internet.
Travellers from Spain must complete an online application form to obtain the UK eTA by submitting the required information. It generally takes a matter of minutes to fill in and submit the form.
The request for the eTA typically takes a few business days to process, although in some cases it may be much quicker. Spanish applicants will receive their approved UK eTA by email (to the account registered in the online form).
The eTA can then be presented at UK border control along with the passport used to complete the Electronic Travel Authorization application.
Other Documentation for Spanish Citizens Travelling to the UK
The 2 entry documents required by Spanish citizens visiting the UK for tourism, leisure, or business are:
- The eTA for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- A valid Spanish passport
In order to obtain the eTA for the UK, Spanish travellers must provide a completed online application form, an active email address, and a credit or debit card. Information about their travel plans and the place they will be staying while in the UK is also required.
Further documentation may be required if the individual from Spain plans to stay in the UK for a long period or intends to move to and/or work in the country.
At present, Spanish nationals have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom, but after the transition period is complete and the UK is no longer part of the EU, it is highly likely that some type of visa or permit will be required.
Benefits for Spanish Citizens of the UK eTA
The Electronic Travel Authorization for the UK has a number of advantages for Spanish nationals visiting the country.
The online application system permits Spanish citizens to apply from the comfort of their home or office, without having to go to a British embassy or consulate. The rapid processing times enable them to decide to book a last-minute trip to England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland a few days in advance.
The automated systems use advanced biometric technology, which will help to speed up document checks at border control, reducing waiting times and helping visitors from Spain reach their destination faster.
At the same time, the improved and more rapid screening process increases safety and security for all travellers entering Great Britain and Northern Ireland.