As the UK prepares to implement its new ETA programme, travellers should inform themselves about what is changing. The old visa waiver scheme is being replaced, which will affect travellers from Kiribati coming to the UK. In this guide, you’ll find all the information you need about the new system and learn what Kiribati travellers need to do before beginning their journey.
What Is the UK ETA for Kiribati Citizens?
The ETA, or Electronic Travel Authorisation, is the replacement for the UK’s current system of visa waivers. Although it is new to the UK, it is very similar to existing systems in other countries. Travellers who are familiar with the ESTA programme in the United States or the ETA in Canada will already have an idea of what to expect from the British ETA.
The ETA gives the British government more information, and therefore more oversight, about who is entering the country. Under this new system, it will be easier to identify security risks and screen out unwanted visitors prior to entry. It is not a visa, and the application process is much simpler than a visa application.
How Does the ETA Affect Kiribati Travellers?
As Kiribati is a Commonwealth country and on the list of 92 countries that have visa waiver arrangements with the UK, Kiribati travellers do not need to apply for a visa before they travel. The new system will not introduce a visa requirement, but it will mean that citizens of Kiribati need to complete the ETA application form before beginning their journey.
The UK ETA for Kiribati citizens will be issued to travellers entering the UK for a number of different reasons. These may include:
• Business trips
• Short-term courses or study programmes
• Visits to friends and family
• Medical treatment
There is a single ETA application process for visitors to complete; it does not change depending on the reason for travel.
At present, some Kiribati citizens require a visa to enter the UK. This is the case for travellers who are planning to work in the UK, spend more than six months there or settle there permanently. This will not be changed by the new system, and these travellers will continue to need a visa. The visa application process remains unchanged, completely separate from the new ETA programme.
Applying for the UK ETA for Kiribati Citizens
Travellers from Kiribati are advised to consult the list of requirements for the ETA before making their travel plans. It’s important to note that the exact details of the ETA programme are subject to change. Until the system is fully introduced, which is expected to happen before 2024, the information is not yet finalised. Nevertheless, the requirements below give travellers an idea of what to expect:
• A valid biometric passport from a country on the list of eligibility.
• A recent digital passport photo.
• personal information. This will include 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.
• Disclosure of any past criminal record, immigration offences and membership (past or present) of a proscribed group or organisation
The last item on the list is included to help screen for security risks. If a traveller is deemed to pose a threat to the safety of the UK and its citizens, their application will be rejected.
The ETA application form will only be available online. This is a completely digital system, so no paper-based alternatives will be offered.
Processing the UK ETA for Kiribati Citizens
It is likely that travel carriers will make an approved ETA a condition of carriage, as many already do with the United States ESTA and Canadian ETA. This means that passengers who are unable to show staff their UK ETA for Kiribati citizens at their departure gate may be denied boarding.
With this in mind, travellers will need to apply for their ETA, allowing enough time for it to be processed. While completing the application form, they must pay a non-refundable fee. Until the fee is paid in full, the application will be considered incomplete and will not be processed.
The ETA application processing time is expected to take a maximum of 72 hours. Travellers should ensure they apply with plenty of time to spare. They will need to show an approved ETA at their departure airport and again on arrival in the UK when they pass through border control.
ETA applications may be denied for a number of different reasons. If this happens, the applicant can choose to appeal the decision. Alternatively, travellers may need to apply for a visa instead. This is a longer and more complicated process.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Kiribati Citizens
Once their application for the ETA has been approved, travellers have permission to enter the United Kingdom and spend up to six months there. During this period, they can move freely around the country. Between the four constituent countries of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), there is no border control, so travellers can cross between the four countries as they wish. However, the Republic of Ireland is independent. The ETA has no validity there.
The UK ETA is only valid for travel to and within the United Kingdom. As the UK is not a member of the European Union or the Schengen common travel zone, the ETA has no validity in other European countries. Travellers from Kiribati who would like to visit more of Europe will need to ensure that they have the correct paperwork and meet the necessary entry requirements. The European Union is currently in the process of implementing its own electronic travel permit system, the ETIAS.
Kiribati and the UK
Kiribati is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, having gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. The two countries have a friendly relationship due to their past connections. There are no direct flights between Kiribati and any of the UK’s airports, so travellers must look for connecting routes.
The small size of Kiribati means that there is not a large Kiribati community in the UK. Nevertheless, travellers from Kiribati continue to travel to the UK for reasons of business and pleasure.