Australians traveling to the UK will soon be forced to pay an entry fee
Aussies will soon have to pay to enter the UK as part of a new visa waiver program called ETAA. Those who don’t need a visa must pay for an ETA.
Australians will soon have to pay a fee to enter the UK under a new scheme to keep track of travelers to the country.
The visa waiver program, Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), requires travelers to pay a small fee of around AU$18.60 to enter the UK.
ETA is similar to the US ESTA and EU ETIAS visa waiver programs that screen travelers before they arrive in the country.
Australians will soon have to pay to enter the UK under a new visa waiver program called Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).
The program will allow the UK government to keep track of how many people are traveling to the country.
Australians were previously allowed visa-free entry into the country when going on holiday.
The UK government explains on its website why it decided to introduce the ETA.
‘ETA will provide more accurate information on the number of people traveling to the UK and the countries they come from,’ the website reads.
The government currently collects information on travelers through surveys conducted at ports of entry which ‘do not provide accurate statistics’.
‘As well as providing accurate information, ETA will make the UK a safer destination,’ the website reads.
‘Screening travelers before they arrive in the UK will help detect threats earlier.’
The scheme was first announced by Priti Patel, the then home minister of the Conservative Party, in 2021 as a screening process to keep ‘criminals’ out of the country.
‘They (the UK public) want a new system that works for the law-abiding majority and against those who seek to abuse our hospitality and generosity,’ Ms Patel said at the time.
‘Sanctuary welcomes those who need it most and closes its doors against dangerous criminals.’
The program was created to screen travelers and collect data on who is entering the country and where, it costs £10 or AU$18.60 and takes three-business days to clear in the UK.
Qatar is the first country to be affected by the change, with locals required to purchase an ETA from November 15
The next set of countries will be Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates whose citizens will require an ETA from February 2024.
It is unclear when Australia will officially join the ETA list, but the country has previously indicated full implementation by 2025.
After being screened for an ETA, entry into the country should be easy as the document will be linked to a passport that is scanned and verified with a face scan.
What is Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)?
ETA is a visa waiver program that must be applied for before arriving in the UK if you do not need a visa, even for those who do not cross border controls.
The program allows six months of travel over a two-year period.
It is not certain whether it will be refreshed after six months outside the UK.
Travelers will need a valid biometric passport from an eligible country, travel details, a valid email address and a debit or credit card to apply for an ETA.
It costs £10 or AU$18.60 to purchase an ETA and it takes around three working days to decide whether entry is approved.
On top of your name, date and country of origin, a ‘series of personal, security and travel questions’ will also be asked of applicants to determine eligibility.
Decisions on eligibility will be made automatically, leaving only critical decisions to officials.
A list of countries that require an ETA can be found here.
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