The UK is in the process of introducing its new ETA system, which will replace the current scheme of visa waivers. The ETA, which is expected to come into effect by the year 2024, will affect travellers from the Marshall Islands. In this guide, you’ll learn what the UK ETA for Marshallese citizens is, how to apply for it and what travellers can expect from the new system.
What Is the UK ETA for Marshallese Citizens?
The new ETA system, which stands for Electronic Travel Authorisation, is designed to replace the UK’s visa waiver programme. It is a fully digital system introduced as part of a British government initiative to digitalise the country’s borders. Although it is new to the UK, travellers may already be familiar with similar schemes in other countries. In particular, the ETA has a lot in common with the United States ESTA and Canadian ETA.
The ETA is being introduced to give the government more control and oversight over who is entering the United Kingdom. It will make it easier to identify security threats. An ETA is a travel permit rather than a visa. The application process can be completed online and is far faster and simpler than a visa application.
How Will Marshallese Travellers Be Affected?
The UK has a list of 92 countries with which it has a visa waiver arrangement. This list includes the Marshall Islands. Citizens of these countries can enter the United Kingdom without the need for a visa. At present, the only paperwork they require is a passport. When the new system is introduced, travellers from the Marshall Islands will need to apply for an ETA before visiting the UK.
Marshallese citizens visit the United Kingdom for a number of reasons. Reasons for short-term visits might include the following:
• Business trips
• Courses of study
• Visiting friends and family
• Medical treatment
Regardless of the reason for their visit, travellers will need to apply for the UK ETA for Marshallese citizens. The application form is “one size fits all”, so all travellers will go through the same application process. This will give them permission to enter the UK and spend up to six months there.
Some Marshallese citizens will require a visa for the UK. This is true under the current system, and it will not change with the ETA. Marshall Islanders who want to spend more than six months in the UK, work there or live permanently in the country must apply for a visa. The visa application process will not be affected by the introduction of the ETA programme.
Applying for the UK ETA for Marshallese Citizens
As the ETA is part of a digital system, the application form will only be available online. There will be no alternative paper-based forms. Applicants will also need to pay the processing fee online with a debit or credit card.
Some information about the requirements for the ETA application has been released. This is subject to change, as the new system has not yet been finalised. Although some details may change by the time the ETA programme comes into effect, it’s a good idea for Marshallese travellers to take a look at the published information to get an idea of what to expect. Some of these requirements include the following:
• A valid biometric passport issued by one of the countries on the eligibility list.
• A recent digital passport photo.
• personal information. This will include data such as date of birth, employment information, contact details, etc.
• The purpose of the traveller’s visit to the UK.
• Details about the planned trip to the UK, such as address while in the country.
• A debit or credit card for the ETA application fee.
• Disclosure of a criminal record, past immigration offences, and membership (past or present) of any proscribed groups or organisations.
There are several reasons behind the introduction of the ETA system. One of them is to increase the government’s ability to protect the UK and its citizens from potential threats. Because of this, applicants from the Marshall Islands are expected to disclose some information about their past, such as any past criminal records. If they are considered to be a risk to the UK, their application for the ETA will be denied.
The application must be completed and the fee paid in full before it can be processed.
Processing the UK ETA for Marshallese Citizens
Although the ETA application process is much faster than a visa, it is not instantaneous. Once an application is complete, it is expected to take up to 72 hours to process. Then, applicants will be informed if it has been approved or denied.
In other countries with similar systems, carriers have made electronic travel permits a condition of carriage. It is likely that the same will happen in the UK. This means that travellers from the Marshall Islands need to apply for their ETA with enough time for it to be approved before they begin their journey. They will be asked to present an approved UK ETA for Marshallese citizens at their departure airport. If they are unable to do this, they may be denied boarding. They will also need to show their ETA when they arrive in the UK.
If an ETA application is rejected, the applicant may choose to appeal. An unsuccessful appeal does not necessarily mean that the applicant can never come to the UK, but they may need to go through the more complex visa application process instead.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Marshallese Citizens
Once a traveller has had their ETA application approved, they can enter the UK and stay there for up to six months. The UK consists of four constituent countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In terms of immigration, these nations function as one unit. This means that a traveller can move freely between them without needing any further paperwork. However, the Republic of Ireland is independent, and the ETA has no validity there.
As the Marshall Islands are so far from Europe, many travellers like to visit several European countries in one trip. The UK is not a member of the European Union or the Schengen common travel zone. This means that the ETA has no relevance in any other neighbouring countries. Marshall Islanders who want to go to other European countries should look up the relevant entry requirements before beginning their journey. The European Union is in the process of introducing its own digital travel permit system, the ETIAS, which is likely to affect Marshall Islanders in a similar way to the ETA.