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UK Announces New Requirements for International Travelers

Published by FareCompare on February 13, 2023

uk travel requirements

If you're planning on visiting the UK in the near future, take note of its new travel requirements that have just been announced.

The United Kingdom will introduce an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system, which will require many international travelers to apply for an entry permit. This electronic entry permit will apply to those traveling to the UK and intending on a short stay.

However, details on when the ETA permits will be required – and how much they will cost – have yet to be disclosed. UK government officials initially said that the new system would launch by the end of 2023, though updated reports indicate that it's been pushed back to the end of 2024.

"Once the ETA is introduced, all international travelers will need permission to enter or transit the UK," per ETAUK.uk, a private organization. "This will include visa-free nationalities, who will need an ETA," plus those traveling to the UK for tourism, business, short-term education, and medical treatment.

According to the government's website, the reason for the implementation of the ETA system is to "give the UK more control of [its] borders, allowing [them] to block threats from entering the UK, whilst also providing individuals, and carriers, with more assurance at an earlier point in time about their ability to travel to the UK."

What to Know About the New UK Entry Requirements

The UK's rollout of its newly announced ETA system dovetails with plans announced by the European Union to launch a similar electronic entry scheme. This November, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will launch, and citizens of the US and other countries will be required to apply. Additionally, they'll have to pay a fee of 7 euro to enter most European countries.

The British ETA travel permit will be available online, eliminating the need to visit a UK embassy in person to apply. It's estimated that the whole application process won't take more than 10-15 minutes; it must, however, be completed a few days prior to the traveler's departure.

ETAs will be valid for visa-free travel for up to 180 days or six months in the UK, or valid with a visa for two years.

Travelers will be asked to complete a form with basic personal details, passport information, travel details, and answers to standard security questions. Applicants can expect a response within 48 to 72 hours after submitting the materials.

The exact cost of the ETA entry permit have not been disclosed. Estimates predict that it won't be too costly, and applicants can use either a debit or credit card to complete the payment online. For reference, the ETIAS system in the EU charges 7 euro (around $7.55) for a similar service. What's more, foreign travelers to the United States entering through ESTA must pay $21.

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