As the UK prepares to introduce its new ETA system, travellers need to learn about this change. The old visa waiver scheme is to be replaced, and this will affect Honduran citizens visiting the UK. This guide explains how the system will be changed and what Hondurans need to know before travelling.
What Is the UK ETA for Honduran Citizens?
The ETA, which stands for Electronic Travel Authorisation, is a new system that is being introduced to replace the current programme of visa waivers. It is a new programme to the UK, but it is very similar to existing schemes that seasoned travellers may already be familiar with. In particular, it is based on programmes such as the Canadian ETA and United States ESTA.
The ETA is not a visa, but it is a form of travel permit. When the system comes into effect, it will give the government more oversight over people entering the United Kingdom, which will make it easier to screen out potential security risks. Unlike a visa, it has a simple application process that can be entirely completed online.
How Does the ETA Affect Honduran Travellers?
Honduras is on the list of 92 countries that have visa waiver arrangements with the UK. Under the current system, travellers from these countries do not require a visa or any other form of paperwork to enter the UK. Under the new system, they will still be able to enter without a visa, but they will need to apply for an ETA before travelling.
With a UK ETA for Honduran citizens, travellers have permission to stay in the UK for up to six months. There are a number of reasons why Hondurans might choose to come to the UK, including:
• Business trips
• Short-term courses or study programmes
• Visits to friends and family
• Medical treatment
The ETA application process remains the same regardless of the traveller’s reason for visiting the UK. However, some travellers will still need to apply for a visa. If a Honduran citizen is planning to live permanently in the UK, work there, or spend more than six months there, they will require a visa. The visa application process is completely separate from the ETA and is significantly more complicated.
Applying for the UK ETA for Honduran Citizens
Before making their travel plans, Hondurans are advised to consult the published list of requirements for the ETA. Some of these requirements include the following:
• A valid biometric passport from a country on the list of eligibility.
• A recent digital passport photo.
• Personal information, which will include various data, such as date of birth, employment information, contact details, etc.
• The reason for the traveller’s visit to the UK.
• Some basic details regarding the planned trip to the UK, such as the traveller’s address while in the country.
• Payment for the ETA application fee.
It’s important to note that this information has not yet been finalised. Until the ETA system is introduced, some details about the programme might change or be clarified. For example, passports might require a certain period of validity, probably 3 or 6 months. Although the requirements may be changed, they still give travellers a general idea of what they can expect from the new system.
As well as the requirements listed above, applicants will be asked to disclose certain sensitive pieces of information about their past. This includes any criminal records, past immigration offences, or membership (past or present) of a proscribed group or organisation. This allows authorities to flag travellers who might be seen as a potential threat to the safety of the UK. If an applicant is considered to be a risk to the country’s security, their application will be denied.
ETA applicants will need to complete the application through an online form. This is a digital system. Paper-based alternatives will not be available.
Processing the UK ETA for Honduran Citizens
Travel carriers are expected to make an approved ETA a condition of carriage. This means that travellers must start their application with plenty of time to spare. A passenger who is unable to show staff an ETA at the departure gate of their airport may be denied boarding.
Part of the application involves paying a non-refundable fee. This can be paid online. It must be paid in full before an application can begin to be processed.
An ETA application takes far less time to process than a visa application. However, it is not instantaneous. It is expected that an application will need up to 72 hours to be approved or denied. Travellers are advised to keep this in mind when they are planning their trip. They will need to be ready to show their ETA at their point of departure and once again when they arrive in the UK and pass through border control.
If an ETA application is denied, the applicant has a few options to consider. They can start by appealing the decision. If this does not work, they can apply for a visa instead. A visa application is longer and more complicated, but it may be necessary for some applicants, such as those who have committed criminal offences in the past.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Honduran Citizens
With an approved UK ETA for Honduran citizens, travellers can enter the UK and stay there for a period of up to six months. There are four constituent countries within the UK: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These countries do not have any border control separating them, and a holder of an ETA has the freedom to move between them as they wish. The Republic of Ireland is an independent country, and the ETA does not give a traveller permission to enter.
The United Kingdom is not a member of the Schengen common travel zone or the European Union. This means that if a Honduran traveller wants to visit other European countries as part of their trip, they will need to look into the relevant entry requirements. The EU is currently in the process of introducing the ETIAS, its own new digital travel authorisation system. The ETA is only valid for travel to the United Kingdom.