This policy mandates travelers to possess an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) card before they can board an airline. The ETA card requirement applies to a wide range of individuals, including tourists, business travelers, those visiting family or friends, and even transit passengers.
Starting from November 15, 2023, the UK has made it compulsory for all travelers, except British and Irish nationals, to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before their journey.
This rule applies universally, including to children. This means that anyone planning to visit or transit through the UK must obtain an ETA card before traveling, as reported by Newstelegraph.
The UK Home Office clarified that the ETA requirement applies to those who were previously eligible to visit the UK without a visa and who are not already legally residing in the country. This includes individuals planning visits lasting less than six months, businesspeople, tourists, and those visiting family and friends. To acquire an ETA, applicants must complete an online application before making any travel arrangements to the UK. Once granted, an ETA is valid for multiple trips over two years or until the expiration of the applicant's passport, whichever comes first.
It's important to note that travelers with valid visas may still be denied boarding if they do not possess a valid ETA, as the ETA is digitally linked to the traveler's passport, according to the UK Home Office. This new travel policy aims to enhance security and streamline the entry process for individuals traveling to the United Kingdom.
A statement from the UK office reads: “The UK travel requirements are changing. Except for British and Irish citizens, everyone, including children who enter or transit through the UK, will soon require permission before they travel.
"This means that if you were previously eligible to visit the UK without a visa and not already legally resident in the UK, you will need an electronic travel authorisation (ETA), your stay must be shorter than six months and could include tourism or visiting family and friends, transit, business, and short term study.
“You do not need to show a paper copy, but it may be helpful to prove the confirmation email for your own records while an ETA grants you permission to travel to the UK, it does not grant you entry. So, you would still need to go through passport control at the border to enter the UK.
“Make sure you show the same passport you used to apply for your ETA and that your passport is valid for the whole of your stay."