In accordance with new legislation introduced by the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, a new travel permit is required for all visitors to the United Kingdom from 2024.
The Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) programme is one that involves a digital permit and will be applied universally, even to those countries whose citizens have previously enjoyed a visa waiver.
This article will detail all the important and relevant information for citizens of Luxembourg who are planning to make a trip to the UK after 2023. This guide discusses how travellers from Luxembourg will be affected by the start of the ETA system, along with helpful tips for completing the ETA application.
What Is the UK ETA for Luxembourgish Citizens?
The UK ETA programme is set to be fully rolled out by the end of 2024 and is very similar to the immigration systems operated by USA and Canada as well as Australia and New Zealand.
Under the new legislation, all the UK borders are set to become fully digitalised, with the ETA taking the form of a digital permit that grants entry to all approved visitors. The access granted by the permit applies to each of the four UK countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
All ports of entry will be subject to the new permit, including airports, seaports and train stations that serve as Eurostar entry ports. All current eGates will also be included in the new system.
The permit will apply for all reasons for short-stay travel (less than six months), including business trips, holidays or leisure trips, visiting friends or family, studying or medical treatment.
As a member of the EU, Luxembourg is automatically included in the list of 92 countries eligible for the ETA. The criteria for the UK ETA for Luxembourgish citizens is the same as has been standardised for all other countries.
How Will the New System Affect Luxembourgish Citizens?
Citizens of Luxembourg are enthusiastic travellers. According to European Commission statistics, 83% of Luxembourgians made a trip outside of their homeland in 2019, one of the highest outbound travel rates in the EU.
Prior to the country’s withdrawal from the European Union, visiting the United Kingdom was a simple hop across the English Channel with your ID card or passport, as long as you met the standard visitor requirements and you didn’t intend to stay for longer than six months.
From 2024 onwards, regardless of reasons for travel or method of transport, a UK ETA for Luxembourgish citizens is obligatory. Anyone travelling without a valid ETA will be refused entry.
What Is the ETA Application Process?
Although there may be changes as the legislation is finalised, there are still a few details to be finalised. However, the ETA application process is known. In order to apply for a UK ETA, you will require the following:
• A valid passport.
• A recent passport photograph in digital format.
• A valid email address.
There is a form to be completed with details as follows:
• Personal identification details – birth name and surname, date of birth and residential address.
• Passport details – number, date of issue and country of issue.
• Employment details – name, address and contact details of the employer.
• Travel details – the purpose of the visit and contact address while in the UK.
Every applicant will also be asked to disclose some elements of sensitive personal information:
• Immigration history and details of any dual nationalities or citizenships
• Criminal history
• Drug history
• Health questions
• Affiliations or associations with proscribed groups
This information will be checked against national and international databases used by the border forces and other departments of the UK government, and any applicants who are red-flagged may be denied an ETA.
How Is the Application Processed?
The application for a UK ETA for Luxembourgish citizens has to be made online. There is no alternative. No paperwork process is available, nor is there an in-person process like there is for standard visa applications.
The expected processing time is 48 to 72 hours, but it is advisable to apply in plenty of time, and it makes sense not to make firm travel plans until the application is approved.
The application form must also include payment by debit or credit card. Applications without payment details will not be processed.
How Will an ETA Affect the Entry Process?
Once an ETA application is approved, travellers will receive the ETA in the form of a digital permit that gets linked to their passports.
The details of every traveller approved for an ETA will be logged on Advanced Passenger Information databases. This will be available to all travel carriers who will have the responsibility for making sure that the passengers they are carrying to the UK have the required permits to be able to enter legally.
An ETA does not guarantee entry. Border forces may refuse entry and turn back any traveller who is deemed to be inadmissible to the country by UK law.
Where it has always been required prior to the introduction of this new system, the ETA does not cover or replace the need for a visa. If you wish to stay in the UK for longer than six months or you want to live and work in the UK, you still require a visa.
What Is the Time Period an ETA Covers?
The current legislation states that the UK ETA will be valid for a period of 180 days from the date of issue and allows freedom of travel through all four UK countries. The only exception to this rule will be in the situation that the linked passport expires before the 180 days are up.
No traveller from any of the listed 92 countries, including Luxembourg, will be allowed to stay in the UK beyond the date of expiration of their passport, regardless of whether or not their ETA is valid beyond this date.
In a scenario where a Luxembourgish citizen is still in the UK when their ETA expires, a new application will need to be made to extend the stay legally. In some cases, this could require returning to the country of origin to begin the process again. More information on the UK ETA for Luxembourgish citizens can be found in the frequently asked questions section.