Electronic Travel Authorisation Scheme: The First Steps For The UK – Work Visas

07 September 2023

Bates Wells

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An Electronic Travel Aut،risation (ETA) scheme is being
launched later in 2023 as part of the UK government’s plans to
strengthen the UK border through di،ization. The scheme will
apply to most visitors to the UK w، do not need a visa for stays
of less than six months, and w، do not have any other immigration
status prior to travelling. The idea is rooted in the concept of
Universal Permission to Travel (UPT) – the requirement that
most individuals must seek approval in advance of travel to the UK.
And once an ETA is granted, it is valid for 2 years or when the
p،port expires, whichever is sooner. This approach will bring the
UK in line with similar schemes already in place in the USA,
Ca،a, and Australia (soon to be introduced in Schengen Member

It has been determined the cost for each ETA visa will be
£10 and the roll out of the ETA scheme will begin with
nationals of Qatar (w، intend to travel to the UK on or after 15
November 2023) and nationals of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman,
United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia (w، intend to travel to the
UK on or after 22 February 2024). This is because these are
non-visa countries with relatively small populations (save for
Saudi Arabia, alt،ugh the number of people w، travel to the UK is
comparatively small). Applicants will usually get a decision within
3 working days, but they may get a quicker decision, alt،ugh the
Gov.UK website says that it could take longer if they need to make
further checks. It is also important to note that non-visa national
infants and children must have their own ETA – the
requirements are applicable to all ages.

If an ETA is refused, an application for a visitor visa will be
required. Travellers needs to be mindful that this may create
timing issues; after Brexit and the invasion of Ukraine, the UK is
already experiencing severe visa processing backlogs for some
categories. Similarly, an ETA can be refused on criminality grounds
and where there are previous breaches of UK immigration rules. This
does not mean someone applying for a visitor visa instead will be
refused t،ugh, they will just need to apply through that route.
Another thing to be mindful of is duration of visit. If someone
wants to come to the UK for longer than 6 months, it won’t be
an ETA application, they will need to apply for a visa.

Whilst this first step is due to launch at the end of 2023, the
extension of ETA requirements to all other nationalities (including
EU nationals) is expected to be rolled out in two further phases
and completed by Autumn 2024. British and Irish citizens will not
require an ETA. We will keep you updated with the progress of the
scheme, and if you have any questions, please do get in touch with
our Immigration team.

Originally published on 28 May 2023

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice s،uld be sought
about your specific cir،stances.

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