The UK government is in the process of implementing a new electronic travel authorisation (ETA) programme. Anyone travelling to the UK from 2024 needs to be aware of the ETA system to avoid problems at the borders. The new digital travel permit will apply to travellers with a visa waiver. Hence, Japanese citizens planning to visit the UK should be familiar with ETA and the application process. Read on to discover what the new ETA system entails, its impact on Japanese citizens and the application process.
The UK ETA for Japanese Citizens
Japanese citizens don’t require a visa to enter the UK for tourism, leisure or business for short-term stays. With the introduction of electronic travel authorisation (ETA), travellers from visa-exempt countries are required to seek a travel permit to visit the UK. The principle behind the UK ETA for Japanese citizens is similar to the Canadian ETA or USA-based ESTA programmes.
The ETA will act as a permit that allows or denies entry of visitors from visa-exempt countries to the UK. Japan is among the 92 countries that will require travel authorisation. Japanese citizens planning to visit the UK for short stays of up to six months can apply for an ETA permit before getting on a plane. However, travellers visiting the UK for long-term stays will still need a visa from the consulate or embassy.
The introduction of the ETA system is part of the efforts by the British government to digitise its borders and improve security. The visa waiver offered to 92 countries means visitors from any of those countries can travel to the UK with only a passport. Hence, the border authorities cannot collect sufficient travel information. With the ETA system, the UK government can assess travellers’ risks before travel and decide to grant or deny entry into the UK.
While the programme is still in the development stages, the UK government has provided information on the basic requirements, application process and eligibility for the ETA.
The Requirements of the UK ETA for Japanese Citizens
Before getting the new UK ETA, Japanese citizens should ensure they meet the requirements and have the required items for the application process. Some of the basic requirements include the following:
• A valid Japanese passport: Travellers need a valid Japanese passport with biometric details for the application. The validity details should be provided during the application. For instance, the passport should not expire within three months of your UK visit. The passport should also have a recent digital photo for easy identification at the border. Visitors with multiple passports should use one to apply for the ETA and ensure they carry it during their travel.
• Email address: Japanese citizens applying for the UK ETA need an active email address to receive the approved ETA.
• Ability to pay the processing fee: The UK ETA will attract a processing fee, and Japanese citizens must pay the fee through a debit or credit card during application. Failure to pay the processing fee leads to denial of the ETA.
• Adherence to the UK ETA conditions: Japanese citizens seeking an ETA should understand the terms and conditions of the travel authorisation. For instance, they should only stay in the country for six months and adhere to the permitted activities.
How To Obtain the UK ETA for Japanese Citizens
The UK ETA is a digital system; travellers can apply for the permit online instead of visiting the consulate or the UK embassy. On the website, visitors will be required to fill out an application form. Filling out the application takes ten to 15 minutes, and some of the information you are expected to provide includes:
• Personal information: The applicant’s full name and date of birth are required. The name provided should be spelt accurately to avoid discrepancies with details on the passport.
• Passport details: An applicant must provide a passport number and issuing country. Travellers should also provide the issuance date and expiry details of the passport to determine the validity period. Citizens with multiple nationalities must list the nationalities and give details on other passport numbers.
• Contact information: Applicants will provide their Japan home address and phone number. The ETA system will get back to the travellers through email. Hence, they must provide a valid email address to receive the notifications.
• Travel information: Applicants need to share the purpose of the travel, including a detailed itinerary from the date of arrival in the UK to the departure date. The travel plans help the border authorities determine a visitor’s compliance with the terms and conditions for using the ETA.
• Eligibility questions: The application form will address the applicant’s criminal record for violent and non-violent offences. Travellers also provide details of their drug use, history of drug possession and affiliation with terrorist groups. Visitors with past immigration offences or issues should also provide relevant information.
After filling out the application form, travellers should pay the processing fee and submit the information. The processing time for the ETA is 72 hours, and the applicant will receive the ETA through email. Travellers don’t need to print the ETA email since it will be attached to the passport number used in the application. Border authorities will scan the passport to assess if a traveller has a valid ETA.
UK ETA Benefits for Japanese Citizens
The UK ETA benefits UK nationals and Japanese citizens by ensuring improved border security. The UK government can tighten border controls and prevent threats affecting travellers visiting the country. The ETA also guarantees travellers permission to visit the UK for short-term visits. Japanese citizens receive approval before travel and are assured they won’t have any issues at the border.
The UK ETA for Japanese citizens permits them to attend business functions or workshops and visit the UK for other business-related reasons. Visitors can also travel to the UK for tourism using the ETA and visit any top attractions within the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom without additional documents. For instance, travellers can visit Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England with one ETA. Other activities permitted with the ETA include medical treatments and short-term studies.
The UK ETA is a fully digital process with no need for paperwork. Applying for a travel permit is also fast, requiring only 15 minutes to complete the application. It makes the process of travelling to the UK simpler than obtaining getting a visa. Due to the quick processing, Japanese citizens can find out if they can travel to the UK within three days.
A major benefit of the ETA is faster border crossing. Border authorities will only scan the passport for the ETA. Hence, Japanese travellers can avoid border delays due to slow processing. For more information on the UK ETA for Japanese citizens, travellers can check the ETA FAQ page.