From 2024 onwards, any individual planning to travel to the United Kingdom will be subject to the new ETA system. Applications for an ETA need to be made before starting the journey, and the system is one that is applied universally, including for any travellers that currently qualify for a visa waiver.
In this article, information will be provided to Czech citizens who wish to travel to the UK. It covers how they might be affected by the ETA, along with everything that is needed regarding the UK ETA application process for Czech Republic citizens.
What Is the UK ETA?
Similar to both the Canadian ETA and the USA ESTA system, the UK’s newly developed Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) programme is set to be put into full action by the end of 2024. The decision resulted from key changes to the UK government’s Nationality and Borders bill.
Under this newly put forward legislation, all UK borders are set to become fully digitalised, and the ETA works as a digital permit, enabling visitors to enter all four countries that make up the United Kingdom: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
As of 2022, there are currently a total of 92 countries that do not require UK visas. This ETA eligibility list is available here, and the Czech Republic is included. The UK ETA for Czech citizens applies to all travellers, no matter the reason. The UK ETA for Czech citizens covers business trips, studying, medical treatments, visiting family or friends and general tourism.
The ETA will apply for all methods of travel and arrival to the United Kingdom. Every potential port of entry will have this digital system in place by 2024, from airports to seaports and Eurostar train ports.
How Will the New System Affect Czech Citizens?
Prior to the revamp and introduction of the ETA, Czech citizens travelling to the UK for the purpose of tourism did not need to apply for a visa. Czech nationals were able to remain in the UK as tourists for up to 6 months, but they did need to meet standard visitor requirements.
Currently, before the new ETA system comes into place, as a member of the European Union, Czech citizens are able to visit the UK for short trips without having to apply for a visa. From 2024 moving forwards, this will no longer be the case, as Czech travellers will need to apply for an ETA.
The UK ETA for Czech Citizens Application Process
Although some details of the new ETA system are yet to be completely finalised, there is a good sense of what is required for Czech citizens to fill out an ETA application.
The application process for Czech travellers is set to look something like this, though it remains subject to change. Applicants will need to be in possession of certain items and be able to produce the following:
• A valid Czech Republic passport.
• A recent passport photograph in digital format for ease of use.
• Personal details of full name, date of birth and current residential address.
• Passport details of number, date of issue and country of issue.
• Employment details, including name, address and contact details of the employer.
• Travel details, including the purpose of the UK visit and the address to be used whilst in the country.
ETA applicants from the Czech Republic will also be required to disclose certain information relating to their past. This includes questions on immigration history, any affiliation to proscribed groups and previous criminal records.
The answers provided for these personal questions will be double-checked against both national and international databases on behalf of the UK government and border forces. If any applicant is discovered to be a considered threat to UK security, then their ETA will be denied.
How is the ETA Application Processed?
Once the online application has been completed, the applicant will be required to pay a non-refundable fee with either a debit or credit card. Applications that are made without the accompanying payment will not be processed.
Standard processing takes between 48 and 72 hours, but those who wish to speed up the process can pay an additional fee via third-party agents. It is strongly advised that any Czech citizen wishing to enter the UK should make sure that they fill out their ETA application with ample time before departing.
How Will an ETA Affect the Entry Process for Czech Citizens?
Once an ETA has been approved, it is granted as a type of digital permit that gets linked to the traveller’s passport. The details of the ETA will be logged on the Advanced Passenger Information database. It will also be the responsibility of the individual air or travel carrier to make sure that the passengers they are boarding have valid permission to enter the United Kingdom.
Czechs who are unable to present an approved ETA can be denied access to any aircraft, train or boat. Even if travellers manage to get to the UK, the ETA will be checked again by border officials, and entry can still be denied at this stage. Those looking for more information on the process of the UK ETA for Czech citizens can visit this frequently asked questions section.
What Is the Time Period an ETA Covers?
A UK ETA for Czech citizens is valid for 180 days from the date that it is issued, with the exception of the passport that it is being linked to will expire within that period. No traveller from any of the aforementioned 92 countries, including the Czech Republic, will be permitted to stay in the UK beyond the expiration date of their passport, and this is regardless of the time left on their ETA.
If an ETA expires during the course of a UK visit, a new application will need to be made in order to be able to continue staying in the United Kingdom. In some cases, the traveller may be required to return to the Czech Republic to submit another ETA application. It is important to note that during the six months that an ETA is valid, there is no limit to the number of times that a Czech citizen can leave/enter the UK. The ETA grants a 6-month pass, allowing freedom of movement through all four United Kingdom countries.