UK ETA: United Kingdom Electronic Travel Authorization

What is the UK ETA?

The UK ETA is an electronic travel authorization system that was launched by the United Kingdom in November 2023. It allows travelers of certain nationalities to apply for advance authorization to travel to the United Kingdom for short-stay purposes. This system aims to simplify the process of obtaining a travel permit by offering an easy application process with fewer requirements compared to a traditional visa.

The UK ETA is intended to be used for the following reasons:

  • Traveling to the UK for up to six months for tourism purposes, visiting family or friends, business purposes, or short-term studying.
  • Traveling to the UK for up to three months under the Creative Worker visa concession if you have a written invitation to an event or engagement from a UK-based organization, you are an expert in your field and you are above the age of 18.
  • Traveling to the UK for a permitted paid engagement.
  • Transiting through the UK.

The UK ETA replaced the UK electronic visa waiver (EVW) scheme in October 2023 as part of the UK government’s efforts to strengthen border security and immigration control, and is a part of the government’s plans to fully digitalize borders by 2025. The system requires eligible travelers to obtain pre-authorization before they arrive in the UK.

The UK ETA system enables immigration authorities to conduct pre-screening checks, including security and background checks, on individuals before they travel to the UK, which can help to identify and mitigate potential security risks and enhance the overall safety and security of the country.

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Some of the key features and benefits of the ETA UK system include:

Enhanced security

The ETA system allows immigration authorities to screen travelers before they arrive, which can help to identify and prevent potential security threats or risks.

Streamlined entry process

By obtaining authorization in advance, travelers can enjoy a faster and more efficient entry process upon arrival in the UK, including reduced wait times and reduced administrative work for both, travelers and immigration authorities.

Improved data collection

The ETA United Kingdom collects essential information about travelers, including personal details and travel itineraries. This can be used for statistical analysis, immigration enforcement, and to monitor visitor trends.

Simplified travel

For eligible travelers, the UK ETA system provides an easier and more convenient way to obtain authorization for short visits to the UK, without the need for a visa.


The UK ETA system may form part of reciprocal ETA arrangements with other countries. This allows for mutual cooperation in border security, easier travel for citizens of participating countries, and the opportunity for UK nationals to visit cooperating countries without a visa.

UK ETA Eligibility Criteria

The ETA UK is intended for nationals of the following countries:

  • Bahrain
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates

Nationals from other counties are currently exempt from the ETA. However, because the electronic travel authority scheme is new in the UK, it is currently being rolled out in phases. This means it may be available to nationals from other countries at a later time.

Currently exempt from the ETA visa UK are:

  • British citizens, including those with British Overseas Territories Citizenship, British Overseas Citizenship, or British National (Overseas) status.
  • Nationals from the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), Swiss Nationals, and other visa-exempt individuals.
  • Nationals of countries who require a visa to enter the UK.
  • Holders of certain diplomatic, official, or special category travel documents.

Validity and Stay Duration

The validity period of the UK ETA varies depending on the specific ETA granted to the traveler. Typically, UK ETAs are valid for two years from the date of issue. Within this time, you can enter and exit the UK as many times as you want. However, if you get a new passport within the two-year validity period, you will need to apply for a new ETA.

Within the validity period, multiple entries to the UK are permitted, as long as each entry does not exceed the authorized duration of stay. The maximum duration of stay permitted in the UK under the ETA varies depending on the traveler’s nationality, purpose of visit, and other factors. For most travelers, the ETA allows for short stays of up to 6 months per visit. The duration of stay is typically calculated from the date of entry into the UK and may be indicated on the ETA UK approval notice.

It is not possible to extend your ETA. Travelers who wish to stay longer in the UK may need to apply for a visa, depending on their eligibility, or may need to leave the UK and apply for a new ETA.

Required Documents for UK ETA

When completing your ETA UK application, you will be required to provide certain documentation, including biographical and biometrical information. Without the required documents, your application will likely be rejected.

The documents you will need to provide are:


You will need to upload a clear photograph of the passport you plan to travel to the UK with. The passport must be valid for the duration of your intended stay in the UK and must have at least one blank page for visa stamps or endorsements.


You will need to submit a recent, clear passport-sized photograph. The photograph should meet specific criteria, such as:

  • Be in color and taken against a plain white background.
  • You should face forward with your face centered in the photograph and clearly visible.
  • Your full head and upper shoulders should be in the photo.
  • Eyes should be open and visible, and eyeglasses should be removed (if possible).
  • Your expression should be neutral.
  • No head covering, except for religious or medical reasons.

Face scan

As part of the biometric requirements, you will need to scan your face with your device. This ensures your face matches your passport and the photograph you provide. A face scan is only required for applicants over the age of 9.

Travel itinerary

You may need to provide details of your planned travel itinerary, including dates of arrival and departure, intended places to visit or stay, and purpose of visit. The itinerary should be comprehensive and accurately reflect your intended activities in the UK. This may include confirmation of accommodation arrangements in the UK, such as hotel reservations, rental agreements, or a letter of invitation from a host.

Proof of finances

You may need to provide proof of funds to support yourself during your stay in the UK, such as bank statements, employment letters, or sponsorship letters.

Previous visas/travel history

Information regarding your previous travel history, including previous visas or ETAs, entry and exit dates, and countries visited may be requested.


UK ETA Application Process

The UK Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) application process allows eligible travelers to obtain authorization to visit the UK for short stays without the need for a visa. Applications can be completed via the free UK ETA mobile app, or on the website.

Begin your application by accessing the official UK government website or the designated online portal for ETA England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland applications.

  • You will need to complete all sections of the ETA application form as accurately and honestly as possible. You will also need to answer questions regarding your suitability to enter the UK. For example, you may be asked questions about your criminal history. Your application will also need to include:
    • Personal information.
    • Passport information.
    • Travel itinerary. 
    • Purpose of your visit.
    • Contact Information.
    • Security information. 
    • Your supporting documentation.

Carefully review all the information provided in the application form to ensure accuracy and completeness. Verify that all details are entered correctly before proceeding to the next step.

You will need to pay the £10 ETA UK fee using a credit card, debit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Once the application form is completed and the payment is processed successfully, submit the ETA application electronically through the online portal. Keep a copy of the confirmation or reference number for future reference.

You will receive updates to your application via email. You will typically receive a response to your application within a few days. You will receive an ETA approval notice via email which will contain important details such as the validity period, duration of stay, and any conditions or restrictions associated with the ETA. Your ETA will automatically be linked to your passport.

Print a copy of the ETA approval notice for your records. Alternatively, download a digital copy of the approval notice to your mobile device for easy access during your travels.

UK ETA Processing Time and Fees

In most cases, your ETA application will be processed within a few hours, up to a maximum of three working days. However, the processing time can vary depending on factors such as:

  • Application volume.
  • The complexity of your application.
  • Any additional document verification requirements.
  • Whether any additional security checks or background checks are required.

Generally, most ETA applications are processed within a few days. Some applications are processed quickly, while others may take longer, especially during peak travel seasons or periods of high application volume. Applicants are advised to apply for their ETA well in advance of their intended travel dates to ensure there is sufficient processing time.

The standard application fee for a UK ETA is £10 for each traveler. This fee is typically paid online at the time of application.


Even if your ETA UK application is approved, you will still need to go through border control and a Border Force officer still has the right to refuse you entry into the UK. Although the ETA permits you to travel to the UK, you will still need to get permission to enter the UK upon arrival.

If your application was reviewed by a person, you have no right to a review or an appeal. However, if your application was declined via the fully automated process, you will have one month from the date of the decision to request a review of your application.

No, if you already have a valid visa for the UK, including an e-visa UK, you do not need to apply for an ETA. The UK ETA is specifically for travelers who are eligible for visa-free travel to the UK.

Yes, children, including infants and minors, are required to have their own UK ETA, regardless of whether they are traveling with or without their parents or guardians.