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ETA for Non-Visa Nationals: UK Immigration Update for Visiting the UK

Updated: Nov 22, 2023



The United Kingdom has introduced its Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme for Qatari nationals on November 15, marking a new chapter in travel simplification focused on immigration. This significant move places Qatar as the first beneficiary of this efficient, user-friendly system that expedites the processing of travel applications.


The British Ambassador to Qatar, Jon Wilks CMG, praised the ETA scheme's launch, describing it as a symbol of the sturdy bilateral bond between the two countries. The new scheme not only facilitates the travel process for Qatari citizens visiting the UK but also strengthens their interpersonal connections.


In a move aiming to replace the existing Electronic Visa Waivers (EVW), the UK government will broaden the ETA's scope to include other Gulf countries. Nationals from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan will welcome the new ETA scheme starting February 22, 2024, with applications opening from February 1, 2024. The UK government collaborates with international airline, maritime, and rail carriers to ensure the scheme's smooth integration and successful rollout.


Increased outreach is on the horizon for the ETA scheme. The aim is to extend the scheme to encompass individuals who presently don't need a visa to visit or transit the UK or who don't have an established UK immigration status. This will include citizens from Europe and America. The proposed timeline will be revealed soon.


VisitBritain CEO, Patricia Yates, expressed her excitement over the ETA scheme's progress, pointing out how it makes the UK an accessible, affordable, and flexible travel destination for Qataris. The further extension of the ETA to Gulf nationals from 2024 underlines the potential positive impact on the UK's tourism sector.


Yates confirmed that VisitBritain’s main goal is to restore visitor value. The organization is committed to achieving this through strategies like their robust Great Britain marketing campaign in the Gulf. They eagerly anticipate more tourists from the Gulf in 2024 and beyond to enrich Britain's dynamic and engaging tourism scene.


If you're curious about the different types of visas offered by the UK or if you're considering visiting the UK and are not from an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) eligible country, write your question here.


Source: The Home Office, Visit Britain


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