An Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is an electronic document that allows a foreign national to enter a country for a specific period of time for tourism, business, or transit purposes without the need for a visa. The ETA is issued online and linked to the traveler’s passport.
ETA programs are typically implemented by countries to improve border security and facilitate the entry of foreign nationals into their country. Travelers can apply for an ETA online by providing personal and travel information and paying a fee. The application is then processed by the relevant authorities, who determine whether the traveler is eligible to enter the country under the ETA program.
The UK has an electronic travel authorization system known as the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme. However, the UK has not yet implemented this system and there is currently no ETA required for most visitors to the UK.
However, travelers from certain countries may need to apply for a visa before they can enter the UK. The UK government provides an online tool called the visa checker, which allows travelers to check whether they need a visa and what type of visa they need.
Additionally, starting from October 2023, the UK will implement a new electronic travel authorization system called the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for visitors from visa-waiver countries. The ETA will require visitors to provide personal and travel information, as well as undergo security checks before their travel to the UK. The aim of the ETA is to improve border security and streamline the entry process for travelers. More information about the ETA will be provided by the UK government closer to the implementation date.
Who will need an ETA
From 15 November 2023, you’ll need an ETA if you’re travelling to the UK and you’re a national of Qatar.
From 22 February 2024, you’ll need an ETA if you’re travelling to the UK and you’re a national of:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
More countries will be added to the scheme later.
Who will not need an ETA
You will not need an ETA if you have either:
- a British or Irish passport
- permission to live, work or study in the UK
- a visa to enter the UK
If you’re legally resident in Ireland, and you do not need a visa to visit the UK, you will not need an ETA if you’re entering the UK from either:
- Isle of Man
How to apply
You’ll need to apply on the UK ETA app, or online on GOV.UK.
You’ll usually get a decision within 3 working days, but you may get a quicker decision.
It may take longer than 3 working days if we need to make further checks.
How much it costs
We will confirm the exact cost of an ETA shortly.
Each traveller must apply for their own ETA, including children.
How you’ll get your ETA
You’ll get an email confirmation if your application is approved.
We’ll link your ETA electronically to the passport you applied with. You must use the same passport to travel.
After you get your ETA
Your ETA will last for 2 years.
You can use it to make multiple visits to the UK. You still need to either use an ePassport gate if you are eligible to use one or see a Border Force officer to enter the UK.
If you get a new passport in less than 2 years, you’ll need to get a new ETA.
An ETA does not guarantee entry to the UK.
If you’re refused an ETA
You need to apply for either a:
- Standard Visitor visa to visit the UK
- Temporary Work – Creative Worker visa to come to the UK as a creative worker
- transit visa to transit through the UK