The UK is changing its travel rules for those entering the country after 2024. This means that Belizean citizens travelling to the UK must soon apply for an ETA before setting off. This new permissions scheme includes a short online application that can be completed in the weeks or days before travelling. This guide explains how the new UK ETA will affect citizens from Belize wanting to travel to the United Kingdom, as well as how to obtain this new travel authorisation.
What Is the UK ETA for Belizean Citizens
The UK’s new ETA is an online permit scheme that screens travellers before they arrive in the country. The ETA is not a visa, and Belizean nationals do not need to submit a standard visa application. By determining the eligibility of an individual to travel to the UK, the UK ETA programme does work similarly to a visa waiver. For those familiar with travel from Belize to the USA, it intends to mirror the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) system.
The ETA was announced as part of a broad change to the UK’s immigration rules. For streamlined access upon landing, this aims to fully digitise the entry process with eGates. For Belizeans, this creates an additional online application process that didn’t previously exist. It will become the norm after 2024, when all Belizeans must follow these rules.
Belizeans are not alone in applying for an ETA. Worldwide, there are 92 countries that do not currently require a visa to enter the UK, and all must now apply for an ETA. These include fellow Commonwealth realms, like the Bahamas and Canada, as well as Antigua and Barbuda. The ETA specifically applies to those visiting the country as a tourist or other such short stays, such as business trips, medical visits and family reunions. Stays over 180 days, or those commencing employment in the UK, will need to apply for a standard visa rather than an ETA.
How Will the New ETA System Affect Belizean Citizens?
The UK ETA for Belizean Citizens will add one additional step to the travelling process. Like other Commonwealth realms, Belizean citizens can travel visa-free to the UK. So long as they’re not planning to take on a job and can support themselves during their stay, there are few entry restrictions for Belizean tourists (or other recreational visitors). However, whereas this previously meant that a passport would suffice, citizens must now apply for a UK ETA before they can depart Belize for the United Kingdom.
The new UK ETA for Belizean citizens is mandatory. Failure to apply for an ETA will result in that individual being denied entry into the country and even potentially being flagged. This can cause additional immigration issues on future visits. To ensure legal entry into the country, apply for a UK ETA online.
Applying for a UK ETA for Belizean Citizens
The ETA system is still being finalised, but the basics of who, where and how to apply have been announced. Those currently eligible for an ETA include all 92 visa-free countries, including Belize. A list of requirements has also been released. This is subject to change until the ETA is live, but it provides the basics of what can be expected during the application process.
In order to get started, Belizean nationals will need to apply for an ETA online. This system is entirely digital, with no need for paper or mailed documents. That means there is no need to visit a consulate, embassy or visa centre. To complete the application, the applicant must submit the following:
• A valid biometric passport issued by an eligible country, like Belize.
• A recent digital passport photograph.
• Personal details, including full name(s), date of birth, occupation and contact details.
• The purpose and details of travel within the UK, including flight and accommodation information.
• A credit or debit card to pay the ETA application fee.
The application process is projected to take no more than ten minutes to complete. Belizean applicants will also be asked to complete an online form. This includes a disclosure form regarding criminal history and immigration offences. The applicant must also confirm whether they are — or have ever been — a member of a proscribed group or organisation. These essential security questions must be answered truthfully for risk of prosecution. Applicants who do not meet safety requirements will be denied entry.
How a UK ETA for Belizeans Is Processed
The ETA application will be submitted for processing following the payment of a non-refundable fee. Upon payment, the applicant will receive a confirmation email regarding the submission. Thereafter, the processing time begins, with an expected turnaround within 72 hours. Another confirmation email will be sent to verify that the applicant has an ETA for entry into the UK.
As an approved ETA is mandatory for travel, Belizeans must apply with enough time before their intended travel date. This is so that their application can be processed and approved. If an ETA is rejected, the applicant may be able to appeal the decision or apply for a standard visa. Visitors with a criminal history, for instance, have to go through the standard visa process.
All eligible travellers entering the UK will need an ETA, no matter where they are travelling from. Belizeans travelling within Europe and entering the UK via Ireland or France, for instance, will need to apply for an ETA. As the process is entirely digital, this can be done at any stage before entering the UK, provided there is ample time.
Regardless of how UK travellers enter the country, an approved ETA must be presented at the border and, often, from the departing country. Carriers will be expected to screen passengers for ETAs at boarding as a condition of carriage. Failure to present a valid ETA at an airport, seaport, or other such station, may lead to the passenger being denied permission to board. Upon arrival in the UK, the passenger must once again provide proof of a valid ETA linked to their biometric passport.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Belizean Citizens
A UK ETA is valid across the United Kingdom’s four countries, allowing Belizeans to travel to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is no need for additional paperwork or permits to travel across these British Isles. For those crossing into the Republic of Ireland rather than Northern Ireland, a valid EU Schengen Zone visa is required. More information can be found on the UK FAQ page.
Belizeans in the United Kingdom
Belizeans are granted visa-free travel in the UK as members of the Commonwealth of Nations. With a population of over 400,000, all eligible Belizeans have the right to visit the UK for tourism and other non-work-related reasons. While there are no direct flights, connections in Mexico and the United States provide access to all of the UK’s major airports.