UK to charge £10 for new Electronic Travel Authorisation

UK to charge £10 for new Electronic Travel Authorisation

The UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorization scheme (ETA) will cost visitors to the country £10 when it starts being phased later this year.

The ETA, which will operate in a similar way to the existing ESTA system for non-visa travelers to the US, will launch in October for Qatari nationals.

The UK system will then be extended to passport holders from the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Jordan in February 2024 before a worldwide expansion throughout 2024, which will include travelers from the US and EU countries, except for Ireland.

Travelers will apply for an ETA online or via a mobile app, and once granted it will allow the person to visit the UK multiple times over a two-year period. Applicants will have to provide personal and biometric details including a digital photograph and answer a “set of suitability questions”.

The EU has its own new system, known as ETIAS, in the works as well, although its introduction has been delayed until 2024.

The UK government said the ETA system was formed as part of its digitization of the country’s borders to “further enhance border security and the customer experience”.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said: “Visitors from the Gulf states and Jordan make a huge contribution to the UK’s tourism industry and the new ETA scheme will make it easier and cheaper for them to travel to the UK.

“The cost of an ETA will be one of the best values ​​in the world compared to similar international schemes. This small additional cost to visitors will enable us to bolster the security of the UK border and keep our communities safe.”

As a comparison, the cost of applying for a US ESTA is now $21 and remains valid for two years. The EU will charge a fee of just €7 for ETIAS, which can be used for up to three years.

Joss Croft OBE, CEO of UKinbound, said: “The UK already ranks at the bottom for international price competitiveness because of a plethora of taxes and costs such as the high rates of VAT on hospitality, punishingly high Air Passenger Duty and the removal of tax -free shopping.

“Unfortunately, charging visitors a fee to come to the UK will only exacerbate this situation and potentially act as an additional barrier to the growth in international visits to the UK.”

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