UK Introduces ETA for UAE Travelers, for simpler and cheaper Entry Process

Approximately 540,000 Emiratis are projected to travel to the UK in 2024, marking a notable 22 percent increase since 2019.

This surge in Emirati visitors is attributed to the introduction of a new visa-free entry system known as the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), which has streamlined and expedited the travel process, making it more accessible and cost-effective.

According to Patricia Yates, the CEO of VisitBritain, the UK's national tourism agency, the expected influx of Emirati travelers is anticipated to contribute significantly to the UK's tourism sector, with an estimated expenditure of around £1.1 billion or Dh5.1 billion during their visits. This represents a substantial increase compared to previous years, with 380,000 visitors in 2022 spending approximately £793 million.

The implementation of the ETA has been a key factor driving the heightened interest in travel to the UK among Emiratis. Since its introduction on February 22, Emiratis planning short holidays to the UK no longer require a traditional visa but can obtain an ETA through the 'UK ETA' app or the Gov.UK website. The ETA grants travelers multiple entries into the UK over a two-year period for a nominal fee of £10 (Dh47).

It's important to note that an ETA differs from a visa in that it authorizes travel to the UK but does not grant entry; individuals must still seek leave to enter upon arrival. However, the convenience and affordability of the ETA have made it an attractive option for Emirati travelers, significantly reducing the cost of travel compared to previous visa application processes.

The ETA application process is entirely online, with approvals typically processed within a few hours, although in some cases, it may take up to three days. Once approved, the ETA remains valid for two years and can be used for multiple visits lasting up to six months each, providing flexibility for travelers in planning their trips.

While Emiratis and nationals of GCC countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, are eligible to apply for the ETA, UAE expatriates, including Golden Visa holders, must adhere to the existing immigration requirements and apply for visas through the appropriate channels.

Read also: The Canadian provinces begin issuing Provincial Letters of Attestation For international students

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