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15 March 2023

New UK Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme to launch for Qatari visitors

The scheme is aimed at adding further security to the UK’s borders.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
New UK Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme to launch for Qatari visitors

The UK government has announced that the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme will be implemented first for visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council states and Jordan, with Qatari visitors becoming eligible to apply in October 2023.

The ETA scheme enables visitors to apply for authorisation in advance of travel, resulting in a smoother and efficient travel process. The application is entirely digital and will allow for multiple visits to the UK within a 2-year period.

The scheme will launch initially for Qatar in October 2023, followed by the rest of the GCC states and Jordan in February 2024.

Speaking about the announcement, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said:

“Strengthening our border remains one of the Government’s top priorities. ETAs will enhance our border security by increasing our knowledge about those seeking to come to the UK and preventing the arrival of those who pose a threat.”

He added: “It will also improve travel for legitimate visitors, with those visiting from Gulf Cooperation Council states being among the first to benefit.”

ETAs will become mandatory worldwide by the end of 2024 for visitors who do not require a visa for short stays. Currently, visitors from Europe, the US, and Australia do not need to make any form of application to visit the UK but this will change with the introduction of the ETA scheme.

As part of the application process, individuals will be required to provide biometric details and respond to a series of suitability questions. This ensures that all visitors seeking entry to the UK undergo rigorous security checks preventing individuals with ill intent from entering the country.

The ETA scheme represents a significant step towards enhancing UK border security measures and ensuring that all visitors undergo rigorous security checks. 

Visitors are encouraged to apply for an ETA in advance of their travel to the UK to avoid potential delays or inconvenience at the border.

These latest developments were announced on 9 March 2023 and formed part of a Statement of Changes

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