The United Kingdom’s Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) will launch next week, on October 25, starting with a trial that will require some inbound international visitors to apply for entry, and pay a fee.
The first stage of the rollout, however, will apply only to visitors from Qatar, who will be able to apply for authorization to the U.K. for travel starting on Nov. 15.
The U.K. first announced its ETA last year. As part of the U.K.'s plan to digitize its borders by 2025, the system will require visitors to fill in an online application form that will grant them permission to enter the UK.
Travellers will have to submit their passport information and also pay a fee (£10, or $16.65 CAD) to be authorized for travel. Each traveller must get their own ETA, including children and babies, according to the U.K. government, and approval could take up to three working days.
The ETA will last for two years, and if your passport expires in that time, you’ll need to get a new ETA. You can also use it to make multiple visits to the U.K.
(For complete details, click here).
After the trial with Qatar, the U.K. plans to expand the system to other Gulf nations, including Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, starting in February 2024.
Other countries, such as Canada, are expected to be added sometime after that date.
It’s the latest in new fees that are sweeping the travel industry. Another program in the works is the EU’s European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which has been delayed until at least May 2025.