The next time you plan your UK-bound trip, you will likely have to factor in an additional expense besides flights and accommodation.
Starting in early 2023 and throughout the year, the UK will roll out a new initiative affecting international travelers (all non-visa foreign visitors), which will require them to fill out an online application and pay a fee ahead of traveling to the country. Dubbed the Electronic Travel Authorisation, or ETA, the new system is part of the UK’s effort to digitize its borders by 2025, and it will work by screening passengers before they enter the UK, offering more migration information.
Applying is a simple and painless process, and travelers can do so from the comfort of their own home. They’ll need to provide basic information, including personal details, passport data, and some security information when filling out the ETA application form. According to the government’s ETA website, applications will then be processed automatically, and most people will get a response quickly, usually within 48 and 72 hours, Travel + Leisure reports.
While most details about the new ETA implementation have been released, some information is still pending. The cost of the application fee is still to be announced, and it is still not clear how long the ETA will be valid for. According to the ETA official announcement, though, it is likely that it will be valid for at least two years with permission to reentry the UK multiple times.
For more information and to stay up to date with the process rollout, you can visit the UK government’s ETA website.
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