The Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is a new requirement for non-visa nationals to come to the UK. This will be in full effect by the end of 2024. 

Anyone who is currently a non-visa national will be affected.  A non-visa national is any national who can enter the UK as a visitor for six months without having to apply for a visit visa beforehand. Basically, if you can currently turn up at the border without applying for a visa and walk through the passport e-gates then you’re a non-visa national. 

This will include Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, US and European nationals.  You can still travel without the ETA, but this will be in full effect by the end of 2024, so you need to be aware of the new requirement if you are planning a trip to the UK this year. 

You will need an Electronic Travel Authorisation in order to transit through the UK, stay for six months as a visitor or stay for three months on the Creative Worker visa concession. The Electronic Travel Authorisation will allow you to make multiple entries into the UK within two years of your grant. It will be electronically linked to your passport.   This means you will need to apply for a new one, if you lose or replace your passport. 

Visitors from the following countries already have to apply for a UK ETA or an Electronic Travel Authorisation: 

  • Qatar
  • Bahrain
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Saudi Arabia

The Electronic Travel Authorisation will become mandatory for all other non-visa nationals before the end of 2024. 

If you are already from a country where you have to apply for a visit visa before entering the UK, the UK ETA scheme does not apply to you. There is no indication that the process and requirements for visa nationals will change. 

The Irish Border

The land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is a unique case and if you are legally resident in Ireland and a non visa national, you will not be required to get a UK Electronic Travel Authorisation in order to cross the border from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland. However, if you are a non-Irish resident of Ireland travelling to the UK from overseas you will need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation. 

How to Apply for an (ETA)

When you apply for a UK ETA you will need to pay an application fee of £10, provide your contact and passport details, a valid passport photo and answer a set of questions about suitability.

You can apply using the ETA App, or via an online form. 

What Is the Processing Time for a UK ETA Application?

The Home Office states that it will aim to process UK ETA applications within three days.  However, it is best not to leave it too late, as there is likely to be a massive uptake as citizens of each new country are required to apply for an ETA. 

Can I be refused an ETA?

The short answer is, yes! You can be refused if you have an adverse immigration history in the UK, such as previous deportation, overstaying, NHS debt, criminal history, lying or using fraudulent documentation in a previous application etc. 

If you are unsure whether something is relevant to your UK ETA application, please contact us for advice.  

What if I Am Refused a UK Electronic Travel Authorisation?

If you are refused a UK ETA then you will need to apply for one of the following visas:

If you are planning to visit the UK later in the year, please keep a close eye on the GOV.UK website or our website as we will update as soon as new information is released.