If you are a Nicaraguan citizen with plans to visit the United Kingdom at any time within the next couple of years, you need to be aware of new travel regulations.
In accordance with new Borders and Immigration legislation, from 2024, all UK borders will be digitalised, and all short-stay visitors will require a digital permit (ETA) to gain entry to the UK.
The new UK ETA applies to all forms of travel and is necessary, whether you are taking the 13-hour flight from Nicaragua to London or are entering the UK by ferry or Eurostar train from the European mainland. All airports, seaports and Eurostar ports will have eGates in operation to check ETAs.
Listed below is all of the information that a Nicaraguan citizen might need in order to successfully travel to the UK starting in 2024, including how you will be affected by the new ETA system and the application process.
What Is the UK ETA?
The newly developed UK ETA for Nicaraguan citizens is similar to the process you would follow if you were travelling to the United States or Canada. The Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) programme is planned for a full roll-out by the end of 2024.
All border control measures will be fully digitalised, and the ETA is a digital permit that grants admissions to visitors who have made an approved application. The ETA grants access to all four of the UK’s home nations: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The UK government has issued an eligibility list to which the ETA applies. The 92 countries include Nicaragua. All reasons for travel to the UK are covered by the ETA, including visiting family and friends, a holiday or leisure trip, a business trip, short-term study and medical treatment.
How Will the New System Affect Nicaraguan Citizens?
In the years preceding the proposed new ETA system, Nicaraguan travellers who wanted to visit the United Kingdom for a period of fewer than 6 months were able to do so with just a valid passport — as long as they met standard visitor requirements.
For a stay of longer than six months or the right to stay and work in the UK, a visa was required. With the introduction of the ETA, there is no change to this process or the conditions for UK visa applications.
The UK ETA for Nicaraguan citizens is a new requirement, but the process is designed to be simple and quick, with easy accessibility, as well as providing UK authorities with greater transparency of immigration and control over their borders.
What Is the Application Process for an ETA?
The UK government has issued guidelines to the ETA system, including details of the application process.
Though some elements could be subject to change before the official 2024 starting point, Nicaraguan travellers can expect to follow the procedure as outlined here:
ETA applications must be made online. There are no paperwork or in-person alternatives. The following are required:
• A valid Nicaraguan biometric passport.
• A recent passport photograph in digital format.
The application form will request the following information to be submitted:
• Personal details — full name, birth date and current residential address.
• Passport details — number, date of issue and country of issue.
• Employer’s details — name, address and contact details.
• Travel details, including the purpose of the UK visit and the address(es) of residence while in the country.
All ETA applicants, regardless of nationality, race, gender or age, will be asked to disclose information about certain elements of their past and personal lives. This includes details on immigration status, affiliations to any proscribed groups, drug histories and criminal records. There will also be health-based questions.
The information provided will be checked against national and global databases used by border forces and the UK government. Applicants deemed to be a security risk or health threat to the UK will not be granted an ETA.
How Is the ETA Application Processed?
Payment by debit or credit card is requested along with the application. Any application without payment will not be processed. The expected processing time for an ETA application is between 48 and 72 hours. However, it may take longer, depending on the activities at any given time.
It is strongly recommended that Nicaraguan travellers complete their ETA application well in advance of the date they wish to travel.
How Will the UK ETA Affect the Entry Process?
When approved, the ETA is assigned to the traveller as a digital permit linked to their passport.
All issued ETAs are logged on global Advanced Passenger Information databases because international carriers will continue being responsible for ensuring their passengers have the correct permits to enter the UK. Any traveller from Nicaragua who is found to not have an approved ETA (or visa) will be denied entry to the country, even at the arrival port.
What Is the Time Period an ETA Covers?
A UK ETA for Nicaraguan citizens will be valid for 180 days from the date of issue. The only exception to this rule is if the passport that the permit has been linked to expires before those 180 days are up.
Any visitor from the above-mentioned 92 country list (Nicaragua included) is not permitted to remain in the UK for longer than the validity of their own passport, regardless of how much time is left on their ETA.
If a Nicaraguan citizen finds themself still in the UK when their ETA runs out, the only option is for a new application to be submitted if they want to extend their stay. In certain situations, this could even require travelling back to Nicaragua in order to complete this process.
Those looking for more information on the process of the UK ETA application for Nicaraguan citizens can do so by visiting this frequently asked questions section.