Visa-exempt travellers will soon need Electronic Travel Authorisation to visit the UK. The new ETA system will be effective in 2024, and visitors must apply for the permit online before the travel date. The introduction of the ETA system helps tighten border security in the UK and collect information from travellers from Kuwait before granting entry into the country. This guide explains the impact of the new UK ETA for Kuwaiti citizens and offers advice on the steps to register for a permit to travel to the UK.
What Is the UK ETA for Kuwaiti Citizens?
To improve border security, the UK government hopes to enhance traveller logging and tracking activities with the UK ETA system. The digital ETA system allows the government to track movements at the borders and pre-screen visitors deemed a threat before they enter the UK. The ETA is an initiative in the Nationality and Borders Act aimed at improving border controls in the UK.
The Nationality and Borders Bill establish the legislation and regulation for enforcing the ETA scheme. Aside from determining the immigration rules, the bill also lays the groundwork for implementation. It sets the eligibility criteria for ETA applications and the grounds for cancelling or denying a Kuwaiti visitor an e-travel permit. Currently, the UK has visa agreements with 92 countries, which include countries in the European Union, Canada and the US. However, countries like Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and UAE don’t have visa-free agreements, but citizens can apply for a visa waiver for short-term stays.
With the electronic travel authorisation, travellers who enjoy visa-free access to the UK will require a travel permit to enter the country starting in 2024. While Kuwaiti citizens currently require a visa to travel to the UK, they can apply for an Electronic Visa Waiver for short stays. With the introduction of the UK ETA for Kuwaiti citizens, travellers relying on the Electronic Visa Waiver will need an ETA to visit the UK.
Kuwaiti citizens using the ETA to visit the UK will have permission to stay up to six months in the country. With the ETA, travellers can visit the country for business or tourism. Other reasons considered in the ETA application include medical treatment and short-term studies. Visitors will not be allowed to conduct business or work without the relevant visa and work permit.
How the New ETA System Affects Kuwaiti Citizens
Kuwaiti citizens travelling to the UK still require a visa. However, due to the agreements between the two governments, Kuwaiti citizens can travel to the UK with minimal border restrictions by applying for an electronic travel authorisation permit. The introduction of the ETA means Kuwaiti citizens will need to apply for a travel permit instead of getting a UK visa or electronic visa waiver. From 2024, Kuwaiti citizens will only be permitted to enter England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland with a UK ETA.
Kuwaiti citizens who don’t meet the ETA requirements must apply for a UK visa. For instance, travellers visiting the UK for more than six months or visitors planning to work or conduct business activities in the UK require a visa.
Despite the additional requirements that the ETA introduces, it benefits Kuwaiti citizens. For instance, travellers can know in advance if they are allowed into the country. The UK ETA also improves border management and security, making the UK a safe destination for tourism and business travel. Getting a UK ETA for Kuwaiti citizens is quick and straightforward compared to applying for a British visa in Kuwait, which requires visiting the embassy and long waiting times. That means Kuwaiti citizens can make last-minute trips to the UK.
How to Apply for the UK ETA for Kuwaiti Citizens
While the UK government still needs to provide all the details on the ETA system, travellers can find information on the requirements for the travel permit for Kuwaiti citizens. Since the ETA system is still developing, the ETA requirements are subject to change during the rollout. However, Kuwaiti citizens should have the following essential items to apply for an ETA:
• Valid passport: Travellers are expected to provide a valid passport issued by the Kuwaiti government. The passport provides information on the passport number, issue and expiry dates to determine the document’s validity. The ETA is only valid on the passport number used to apply, and Kuwaiti citizens with multiple passports should carry the relevant document during their UK visit. The digital photo on the passport should also be recent, and the document should have the biometric details of the applicant.
• Debit/credit card: The applicant must pay the UK ETA processing fee online when applying. Hence, a valid debit and credit card is required.
• Email address: Applicants require a valid email address since the UK ETA is entirely electronic. The only method of communication is via email. Applicants will receive status updates and the ETA confirmation through email.
Travellers with the above requirements can start the application process online. Applicants need to fill out an online form and provide accurate information. For instance, the application form requires an applicant to provide detailed personal information, including their full name and date of birth. Travellers must also provide passport data to show their Kuwaiti nationality. The passport used in the ETA application should have at least three months before the expiry date to avoid denial of the ETA.
Applicants also provide contact details like residential addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Travellers visiting for business purposes may require employer details and office contact information. It is also essential to provide detailed travel information for the applicant’s stay. For instance, Kuwaiti travellers should provide information on the cities they plan to visit and where they will stay.
Applicants will answer additional security and health questions to determine their eligibility for visa-free travel. For instance, travellers should provide previous immigration history, like cases of visa or border denials. Visitors will also answer questions on their criminal history, drug possession and terrorism charges and activities. Applicants must provide details on their criminal offences and drug usage or distribution history. The questions on terrorism will include affiliation with terror groups and charges related to terrorist activities. Health-related questions include existing infections and vaccinations or mandatory immunisations.
After filling out the application form, applicants must pay the processing fee through a secure online platform and submit the application. A submitted ETA application takes 48 to 72 hours to process, and travellers will receive a confirmation email.
Travelling From Kuwait to the UK With an ETA
Kuwaiti citizens with an ETA must present their Kuwait passports at the UK border. Travellers should ensure they have the passport used to apply for the ETA to avoid denial of entry. The border authorities will verify the electronic travel authorisation by scanning the Kuwaiti passport at the port of entry. Visitors can check the FAQs for more information on the UK ETA for Kuwaiti citizens.