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Electronic Travel Authorisation - ETA

Information on ETAs and who needs to apply for one in order to enter the UK

What is an Electronic Travel Authorisation?

An Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is an online application for permission to travel. It currently affects only nationals of Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirate and Saudi Arabia. The aim is to extend it to all non-visa nationals who intend to come to the UK under a route that does not require entry clearance, including as a visitor. Expected implementation is Autumn 2024 for non-EEA nationals and from the start of 2025 for EEA and Swiss nationals.

Holders of an ETA still require permission to enter the UK, which should be granted on arrival. 

Although the period of each visit must not exceed six months, an ETA is valid for a period of two years from the date of grant, or until the passport used in that ETA application expires, whichever is sooner.

Who needs an ETA?

ETA are required only by non-visa nationals who are coming to the UK for up to six months as a visitor (not as a spouse or civil partner visitor) or for up to three months as a creative worker. Students who are coming to the UK to study for less than 6 months and are entering the UK as a Visitor and have not applied for a visa before they travel, will require an ETA in order to enter the UK.

If you are a national of a country that does not appear in the Visa National List you will require an ETA.

Who does not need an ETA?

You do not need an ETA if you have either:

  • a visa
  • permission to live, work or study in the UK
  • a British or Irish passport
  • a British overseas territories passport

How to apply for an ETA?

The application process is fully online, using either the UK ETA app or through the Gov.uk website.

Each person's application costs £10 and is not refundable.

The applicant must apply using the passport with which they plan to travel using the ETA. If they use a different passport for travel, the ETA is invalid and does not confer permission to travel.

The decision takes around three working days and it is sent by email. 

An ETA is valid for two years from the date of grant, or until the passport used in the application expires, whichever is the sooner. This means the same ETA can be used for more than one trip.

For more information, please see the Home Office website.