The UK has joined the growing list of countries that have implemented an entry fee for visa-free visitors entering its borders.
Following in the footsteps of other nations including the United States (US) and the European Union (EU), the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) will require travellers to pay £10 for a two-year entry authorization permit from 2024.
According to the UK government page, the ETA is a new requirement for people who do not need a visa to come to the UK. Having the ETA gives visitors permission to travel to the UK, and will be electronically linked to each individual’s passport.
Travelers who will require an ETA to visit the United Kingdom include:
1. Those who plan to visit for up to six months for tourism, to spend time with family or friends, to conduct business, or to study.
2. Individuals who plan to come to the UK for up to three months on what’s known as the Creative Worker visa concession.
3. Travelers who simply transiting through the UK—including if you’re not even going through UK border patrol as part of that transit.
The new fee however, does not apply to all travelers. Individuals who have a British or Irish passport will not require the ETA. And those who have permission to live, work, or study in the UK or who have a visa to enter the UK, are all excluded from the newly announced requirement.
Additionally, the UK government website says individuals who are legally a resident in Ireland, and do not need a visa to visit the UK, will not need an ETA if entering the UK from either Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man.
The move symbolises a notable change in the UK’s approach to border controls. The initiative brings entry to the UK in line with international practices as well as marking a new era for travel to the UK for visa-free nationalities.