The UK’s current visa waiver programme will soon be discontinued, being replaced by the new ETA system by the year 2024. This will affect Palauans travelling to the UK. In this guide, you’ll learn about how the new system works, what to expect from it and how travellers can apply for their ETA.
What Is the UK ETA for Palauan Citizens?
The ETA, or Electronic Travel Authorisation, is a new British government initiative. It is part of a wider programme intended to digitalise the borders of the country. The ETA is based on systems that have been introduced in recent years in other countries, with examples such as the ESTA in the United States or the ETA in Canada. It serves a dual purpose: it gives the government greater oversight over people entering the UK, allowing them to be monitored more effectively, and it makes it easier to identify potential security risks.
The ETA is designed to replace the UK’s system of visa waivers. Travellers who require a visa at the moment will still need one when the ETA is introduced, but those who can currently enter the UK without a visa will also be affected. The ETA is not a visa — it gives travellers permission to enter the UK and stay there for up to six months.
How Does the ETA Affect Palauan Travellers?
Palau can be found on the list of 92 countries whose citizens are permitted to enter the United Kingdom without first applying for a visa. Like travellers from the other countries on this list, Palauans do not currently need to complete any paperwork to enter the UK, requiring only a valid passport. When the new system is introduced, this will change, as they will need to apply for the UK ETA for Palauan citizens.
There are a number of different reasons why Palauans choose to travel to the UK. These reasons might include the following:
• Business trips
• Short-term courses or study programmes
• Visits to friends and family
• Medical treatment
Although Palauans may have different reasons for visiting the UK, they will all have to go through the same ETA application process. There is only one ETA, so the process does not change based on the individual’s purpose of visit. All Palauan travellers who plan to spend less than six months in the UK, and those who will not work in the country, need to apply for an ETA.
Some Palauans will require a visa to enter the UK. At the moment, those who want to live in the UK permanently, work there (even if only temporarily) or spend more than six months in the United Kingdom need a visa. This will not change when the new programme is introduced. The UK’s system of visa applications is completely separate from the ETA.
Applying for the UK ETA for Palauan Citizens
Travellers will need to complete the ETA application form online. They should also be prepared to pay the application fee online with a debit or credit card. As this system is wholly digital, paper-based alternatives will not be made available to travellers.
A list of requirements for the ETA can currently be seen. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this information may be subject to change. The system has not yet been completely finalised, and some details are still unclear. For example, the price of the ETA application fee has yet been published. Nevertheless, the list of requirements that have been released is worth looking at, as it will give travellers an idea of what they will need to declare on their application form. Some of the requirements include the following:
• A valid biometric passport from a country on the list of eligibility.
• A recent digital passport photo.
• Personal information — this will include various data, such as the date of birth, employment information, contact details, etc.
• The reason for the traveller’s visit to the UK.
• Some details about the planned trip to the UK, such as an address while in the country.
• A credit or debit card for the ETA application fee.
• Disclosure of criminal records, past immigration offences, and membership (past or present) of proscribed groups or organisations.
One of the key objectives of the ETA system is tightening up the United Kingdom’s security. For this reason, travellers are required to disclose sensitive information about their past. ETA applications will be rejected if the applicant is considered a threat to the country’s safety.
The non-refundable fee must be paid, and the form must be completed in full before the ETA application can be processed.
Processing the UK ETA for Palauan Citizens
Carriers are expected to make the UK ETA a condition of carriage. There is already a precedent for this with similar programmes in other countries. As a result, travellers should make sure they apply for their ETA with enough time in advance of their travel date. Passengers who are unable to show an approved UK ETA for Palauan citizens may be denied boarding when they reach the boarding gate of their departure airport.
An ETA application is expected to take up to 72 hours to process before it is approved or denied. If it is approved, the traveller will need to be ready to show their ETA at their departure airport and again when they arrive in the UK.
In the event that an ETA application is rejected, travellers have a few options. They may choose to appeal the rejection. Even with a failed appeal, a traveller can still try applying for a visa to visit the UK instead. They should keep in mind that this is a longer and much more complicated process than an ETA application.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Palauan Citizens
Once a Palauan has been approved for an ETA, they can visit the United Kingdom and stay in the country for up to six months. However, Palauan nationals cannot work while in the country, but they are permitted to enrol in short courses of study. There are four constituent countries in the UK: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. No border control exists between these four nations, so a Palauan citizen with an ETA can freely move around. However, the Republic of Ireland is an independent country, and the UK ETA will have no validity there.
As Palau is so far from Europe, many Palauans choose to visit other European countries as part of their trip. In this case, they will need to research the entry requirements for different countries before beginning their journey. The United Kingdom is not a member of the Schengen common travel zone or the European Union. The ETA is only valid for entry to the UK and has no legal relevance in other parts of Europe. Palauan travellers should be aware that the European Union is currently in the process of implementing its own new travel authorisation system, referred to as the ETIAS programme.