The UK ETA for Israeli Citizens: What You Need to Know

In 2024, citizens of Israel traveling to the United Kingdom UK) will be required to obtain a UK Electonic Travel Authorization (ETA). It is a new digital permit that is mandatory for citizens of countries who can travel to England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland without a visa for short trips. This includes Israelis.

Here is a comprehensive guide for the UK ETA for Israeli citizens. It includes requirements, application process, and travel expectations.

Why the UK ETA is being introduced for Israeli citizens

The UK ETA is part of a broader government initiative to digitalize the borders and improve security. The new digital travel permit system allows the UK government more control and oversight over individuals entering the country.

Its goal is to deter illegal immigrants and organized crime groups from entering the UK and identify potential threats to national security before they arrive on UK soil.

The ETA is also designed to improve border control and streamline the immigration process for pre-verified, low-risk travelers.

For Israeli citizens, the UK ETA presents benefits that include the following:

  • It is quick and easy to apply and get an approved ETA.
  • It is more affordable than the EVW required for certain Arab countries and other similar digital travel permits imposed by other countries.
  • You only need to apply for an ETA every two years — not every time you visit the UK.

How the UK ETA system will affect Israelis

Currently, Israeli citizens do not need to have an ETA to travel to the UK. However, once the UK ETA is open to serve New Zealand citizens in 2024, they must apply and obtain a valid ETA before traveling to the UK. It is required for non-visa nationals arriving in the UK by air, sea, or land.

A UK ETA is valid for the following travel purposes:

  • Short-term stay for less than six months (180 days) for tourism, short-course study, visiting friends and family, and permitted business activities and medical treatments
  • Short-term stay for up to three months (90 days) on the Creative Worker visa concession
  • Transiting through the UK (i.e., changing planes), whether or not passing through UK border control

To be eligible for an ETA, Israelis must meet the following conditions:

  • Be a national of a country that has a visa-waiver status with the UK. Israel is included in the list of countries whose citizens need an ETA to travel to the UK.
  • Have a biometric passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended departure date from the UK.
  • Do not intend to stay, work, or study in the UK for longer than six months.
  • Do not have a criminal record and past immigration breaches in the UK or elsewhere.

All Israeli travelers, including children and babies, need an ETA before traveling to the UK. Parents and guardians can apply for an ETA on their behalf.

Individuals who have previously violated immigration laws, have a criminal record, or have served a prison sentence of more than 12 months in the UK or any other country may not be eligible for an ETA. In such cases, these individuals may consider applying for a UK visa instead.

Israeli citizens planning to work or stay in the UK for more than six months must still apply for an appropriate UK visa. The UK visa application and processing will remain unchanged once the ETA system is open for Israelis.

Requirements for UK ETA for Israeli citizens

Once the ETA is open to Israelis, those eligible for a UK ETA must prepare the following application requirements:

  • A biometric passport issued by Israel, whose citizens do not need a visa to travel to the UK for short trips
  • A recent digital passport photo
  • A valid email address
  • A working electronic payment method, such as credit or debit card, Apply Pay, or Google Pay

Applying for the UK ETA for Israelis

UK ETA applications for Israeli citizens will be entirely online through the official UK government website or app without visiting consulates or visa offices.

Completing the ETA application should take at most 15 minutes. Ensure you have all the requirements and necessary information before starting the application process. Here is a step-by-step guide on how Israelis can apply for an ETA.

  1. Upload or take a photo of the passport you will use to travel to the UK. Ensure you include the picture and the two lines of numbers and letters at the bottom.
  2. Upload a recent passport photo or take a picture using your device’s camera, if it has one. It must be an original photo and not a screenshot. Images should be saved as a jpeg file or with the file extension .jpg. Children aged nine and under will not need a scan or photo of their faces.
  3. Fill in all the required information. These include personal information (i.e., name, birth date), passport details, employment details, home address, and contact information. The ETA application does not require travel details or financial requirements. However, Israeli citizens must ensure that their stay in the UK is at most six months and they have enough funds to cover all travel expenses to avoid any problems.
  4. Answer questions on security and eligibility. Like any other UK visit r, Israeli ETA applicants must truthfully disclose criminal records, past immigration offenses, and any associations with or membership in any unlawful or illegal groups or organizations.
  5. Pay for the UK ETA application online. A UK ETA application costs £10 each. To complete the application, you must pay the fee online using a credit or debit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.

Upon successfully submitting your UK ETA online application, you will receive a confirmation via email.

Tips for applying for a UK ETA for Israeli Citizens

To avoid common mistakes, follow these guidelines for a swift and efficient UK ETA online application.

  • Provide or capture clear, high-quality photos of your passport and yourself. Ensure the images comply with passport photo specifications and are in full color without filters or effects.
  • Make sure you provide accurate and truthful information. Any incorrect or false data and even withholding relevant information may result in the denial of the application.
  • Check beforehand if your online payment method works and you have enough funds to pay for the application online.
  • Be sure to review and double-check your application details before you submit.

Should Israeli travelers need to correct mistakes in their ETA application, they can quickly do this by re-submitting the application and paying the fee again. However, this is only recommended if the applicant is confident that minor mistakes were behind the initial rejection.

Processing the UK ETA for Israelis 

Upon submitting your UK ETA application, your information will be thoroughly examined to ensure you meet all the eligibility criteria. This involves verifying your details against multiple security databases to identify any discrepancies or potential security concerns that may arise from your application.

Applicants should receive a decision on their ETA application within 72 hours of submission. In most cases, applicants receive their approved ETA within minutes of submission. However, it is essential to note that certain applications may take longer than three days to process.

Like other visa-exempt nationals, Israeli citizens are advised to apply for their ETA before booking their UK trip to avoid delays or other issues.

Denied ETA applications do not mean that the applicant is entirely prohibited from visiting the UK. They can still apply for a UK visa, a longer and more complex process. If you decide to apply for a visa, it might be essential to adjust your travel plans accordingly.

Traveling With the UK ETA for Israeli citizens

The UK ETA is digitally linked to an individual’s passport. It is valid for two years, allowing multiple short visits of up to six months per visit. You must apply for a new ETA after two years or when your passport expires, whichever comes first, to continue being allowed to travel to the UK.

Departure to the UK

Israeli travelers heading to the UK must present the same passport they used for the online ETA application. You cannot use a different one because the UK ETA is an electronic document linked to your passport. It’s a digital permit, so you don’t need to bring a paper printout of your ETA.

Before boarding your carrier (i.e., plane, ship, or train), authorities will check if you have the appropriate permission-to-travel document by scanning your passport. They will only allow boarding to Israeli travelers who can present an approved UK ETA or visa. Individuals still waiting for a decision on their application will not be allowed to board.

Arriving in the UK

An ETA does not guarantee an individual’s permission to enter the UK. Upon arrival, Israeli nationals with an approved UK ETA must still submit their identity documents to the UK Border Force.

Ensure you have the documentation to prove your onward travel plans if asked. This usually means showing a ticket to leave the UK within six months of arriving. It is also necessary to demonstrate that you have enough funds to support yourself in the UK during your stay and return home.

Even if you have a UK ETA, you may still be turned away at the border if you fail a border check or do not meet other entry conditions.

No physical border separates the UK’s four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Israeli travelers with an approved ETA who have passed through the border agency at entry can freely move between these countries.

In the UK, Israelis can use different modes of transport, such as trains, ferries, and local flights. Before boarding a ferry or an internal flight within the UK, they only need to present an ID, usually a passport or driving license.

A UK ETA is not valid in Ireland or other European countries.

The ETA is only valid for travel within the UK. It cannot be used to enter the Republic of Ireland, a separate independent country, or any other European country. It’s important to note that the UK is not a part of the European Union or the Schengen Common Travel Zone.

Israeli citizens planning to visit Ireland or other European countries should check the entry requirements of their destination and ensure they have met them before booking their travel.

Travelers can check the FAQ page for more information on the UK ETA.