UAE - Travel to UK will soon become cheaper and easier for Emiratis and nationals from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, plus Jordan, with the introduction of new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme that will cost only £10 (Dh45.50) per traveller.
Currently, visitors to UK from the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia are paying £30 (Dh137) per visit under the current Electronic Visa Wavier (EVW) scheme; while Jordanians are required to shell out £100 (Dh456) for a visit visa.
The new ETA is a digital permission to travel for those visiting or transiting through the UK who do not need a visa for short stays, or who do not currently hold another UK visa. With the new ETA, they will all be allowed to visit UK multiple times over a two-year period.
The move to the ETA scheme means that the visa requirement for nationals from GCC states and Jordan will be in line with other visitors, such as those from the US and Australia.
The new ETA scheme is also part of the digitisation of the UK border by 2025 to further enhance border security and the customer experience.
When is the launch?
According to a post on the UK government website on Tuesday, the new scheme will be made available for Qatari nationals in October this year, and for the rest of the GCC states and Jordan in February 2024, ahead of a worldwide expansion next year.
How to apply for ETA?
The application process for an ETA will be simple and fast to complete, with the process being entirely digital via website or mobile phone app. To apply, individuals will need to provide biographic and biometric details such as a digital photograph and answer a set of suitability questions.
Contribution to tourism
UK Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick noted: “Visitors from the Gulf states and Jordan make a huge contribution to the UK’s tourism industry and the new ETA scheme will make it easier and cheaper for them to travel to the UK.
Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia Lord Ahmad added: “I’m delighted that our partners across the Gulf and Jordan will be the first to benefit from the UK’s new ETA scheme. This scheme is further proof of the strong partnership between the UK and countries across the region.”
Visitors from the region are highly valuable to the UK economy, with over 790,000 Gulf visitors spending around £2 billion (Dh9.12 billion) during their stays in the UK last year.
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