With an increasing emphasis on efficiency, security, and user convenience, many nations are making the move toward digitizing their visa application processes. One such major shift has been recently announced by the United Kingdom: the multi-entry ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization).
This entry permit application process will be carried out entirely online and will be designed to be quicker, more streamlined, and ideally error-free. This move aligns the UK with other nations and blocs that have already embraced similar systems for tourists, such as the European Union’s ETIAS and the US’s ESTA.
Here’s a look at what the ETA entails and how travelers and agencies can navigate this change.
What is the upcoming digital UK Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)?
The ETA is not a visa, but an entry permit into the UK for citizens of eligible nations, the latest development in the UK’s goal of fully digitizing their borders by 2025. Visitors, including those from the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe, who previously didn’t need to require a permit will need to apply for an ETA to enter the country — UK and Irish passport holders are exempt.
The ETA remains valid for up to two years, however, if your passport expires in less than 2 years, you’ll need to apply for a new ETA. This permit is purely for travel, short-term study, or business in the UK but it doesn’t permit working or living there long-term which does require an appropriate work or other visa.
Applicants will need to fill out the online application and answer a set of suitability questions. They will also need a valid biometric passport from an eligible country, their travel details, an email address, and a credit or debit card to pay the fee (currently £10).
Though authorization is said to be granted within 72 hours, it’s always advisable to apply as soon as travel dates are known to avoid any issues. The visitor must enter the UK with the same passport they used during their application.
For travelers from non-eligible nations who therefore don’t meet the ETA UK requirements, they must instead apply for another applicable type of UK visa. This is typically obtained via a local consulate or embassy and usually has more stringent documentation requirements than a simpler entry permit.
Documentation support is important even for digital visas
While the digitization process aims to simplify immigration applications, the need for accuracy remains vital. All the required information and documentation must be entered correctly as any errors can lead to delays in its processing or even rejection of your ETA.
Though it’s possible for the traveler to fill out and submit their own online immigration applications, travelers might feel overwhelmed with what documentation is required, how to procure those documents, and ensure they meet the legalization criteria outlined by the UK authorities.
While some aspects are made easier for the individual, a good documentation partner can provide invaluable advice on the necessary paperwork and assist in gathering all required documents.
For example, they can help navigate the intricacies of the online application system — which involves filling out the application forms, ensuring all details align with the provided documentation, and submitting the forms — a service that is especially beneficial for those not well-versed with online immigration filing systems or those who want a white glove service for their business travel application process, reducing the chances of visa rejection or unnecessary delays.
That’s where Lex documents comes in: providing support with the UK ETA application.
Lex Documents can support travelers and agencies with immigration digital platforms like the ETA as well as providing documentation, translation, and legalization support. With our new branch recently established in the UK, we are ready to assist. You can approach the UK’s digital visa system, or other processes like the Schengen visa or the ETIAS with confidence and clarity
Don’t hesitate to contact our experts to avoid any problems with your UK ETA application!