DUBAI: The United Kingdom’s new Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme will initially benefit visitors from the six Gulf countries and Jordan; in October 2023, visitors from Qatar will be eligible to apply.


According to a statement released by the UK government on Thursday, the service will initially roll out in the GCC countries and Jordan before expanding globally in 2024.

Visitors who apply for an ETA in advance will be able to take advantage of “smooth and efficient travel,” according to the statement.

A quick decision will be made on most visitors’ applications made through a mobile app, and the application process will be quick, light touch, and entirely digital.

Price-wise, the ETA will be on par with other international programs of its kind, and it will allow its holders multiple visits to the United Kingdom within a given two-year period.

According to the statement, “robust security checks” would be performed on all potential visitors to the UK, further strengthening the country’s borders.

Individuals will be required to submit biometric information and answer what are being called “suitability questions” as part of the application process to help weed out potential threats before they are allowed entry.

The government continues to place a high priority on border security, according to Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick.

When he added, “ETAs will enhance our border security by increasing our knowledge about those seeking to come to the UK and preventing the arrival of those who pose a threat,” it was clear that he was serious.

Legitimate tourists will also benefit, especially those coming from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

After the initial rollout in Qatar, the rest of the GCC states and Jordan will be able to apply for an ETA in February 2024.

Tourists from GCC countries currently have to pay a higher fee for a short visit to the United Kingdom due to the Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) Scheme, which will be replaced by the new program.

Middle East FCDO Minister of State Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon: “I am delighted that our partners in the Middle East will be the first to benefit from the UK’s new scheme.

Bettering the travel experience for people from the Gulf Cooperation Council and Jordan will strengthen commercial and tourist ties between the United Kingdom and the region.

By the end of 2024, ETAs will be required for all visitors, including Europeans, who do not need a visa for short stays anywhere in the world.

Currently, tourists from Europe and other countries like the United States and Australia do not need to apply for a visa to visit the United Kingdom.