The United Kingdom (UK) has announced a new requirement for all individuals (excluding British and Irish nationals) seeking entry into the country: they must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).
Effective from November 15, 2023, this rule applies to all visa applicants planning to travel to the UK, regardless of age.
The UK Home Office has clarified that ETA cards are necessary for individuals who were previously eligible to visit the UK without a visa and are not already legally residing in the country.
ETA applications are mandatory for various categories of travellers, including those on visits shorter than six months, business travellers, tourists, and individuals visiting family and friends. Applicants must complete an online application before making travel arrangements to the UK. Once approved, the ETA will be valid for multiple journeys over a two-year period or until the expiry date of the applicant’s passport.
Travellers with valid visas may be denied boarding without a valid ETA, as the ETA is electronically linked to their passports, according to the UK Home Office.
A statement from the UK office reads: “The UK travel requirements are changing. Except for British and Irish citizens, everyone, including children, who enter or transit through the UK, will soon require permission before they travel.
“This means that if you were previously eligible to visit the UK without a visa and not already legally resident in the UK, you will need an electronic travel authorisation (ETA), your stay must be shorter than six months and could include tourism or visiting family and friends, transit, business, and short term study.
“You do not need to show a paper copy, but it may be helpful to prove the confirmation email for your own records. While an ETA grants you permission to travel to the UK, it does not grant you entry. So, you would still need to go through passport control at the border to enter the UK.
“Make sure you show the same passport you used to apply for your ETA and that your passport is valid for the whole of your stay.”