UK’s digital border ETA scheme to launch this October for GCC countries and Jordan

UK’s digital border ETA scheme to launch this October for GCC countries and Jordan

Qatari visitors will be the first able to apply for the e-visa ahead of full roll out in 2024

The UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme is to be introduced for visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council states and Jordan from this autumn, ahead of a full rollout in 2024.

Qatari visitors will be the first to be able to apply for an ETA, from October, followed by those from other GCC states and Jordan, from February 2024.

The requirement will extend to non-British and Irish nationals from all other countries by the end of 2024.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the UK government said the cost of an ETA “will be in line with similar international schemes, and individuals can make multiple visits to the UK over a two-year validity period”.

The EU’s Etias scheme, which has been pushed back to 2024, will cost €7 (£6) for a three-year period.

British and Irish nationals will not need an ETA to travel to the UK, though those arriving in the UK via Ireland will require one. The government confirmed those legally resident in Ireland “will not need an ETA when travelling to the UK from within the Common Travel Area”.

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.

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

As part of the application process, individuals will need to provide biometric details and answer a set of suitability questions.