The introduction of the UK’s new ETA system will affect Paraguayan travellers. This system, which will be implemented by the year 2024, is replacing the current visa waiver programme and oblige travellers to apply for an ETA before beginning their journey. In this guide, you will learn how the ETA system works, how to apply for an ETA and what to expect when you travel to the UK.
What Is the UK ETA for Paraguayan Citizens?
The new ETA programme is being introduced as part of a wider British government plan to digitalise the borders of the country. The ETA, or Electronic Travel Authorisation, is a replacement for the current system of visa waivers. Although it is the first digital travel permit programme to be used in the United Kingdom, seasoned travellers may already be familiar with similar systems. The ETA is based on programmes such as the Canadian ETA or United States ESTA. It gives the government stronger oversight over people entering the country, allowing for more border control and greater security.
The ETA is not a form of visa. Instead, it is a digital travel permit. Travellers who are issued an ETA will have permission to enter the UK and stay there for up to six months. The visa system will remain in place for travellers who are not covered by the ETA programme.
How Will Paraguayan Travellers Be Affected?
The UK maintains visa waiver arrangements with 92 countries. Paraguay is on this list, which means that at present, holders of a Paraguayan passport can enter the UK without the need for any more documents. This will change with the introduction of the ETA system. Before beginning their journey, these travellers will need to apply for a UK ETA for Paraguayan citizens.
There are many different reasons why Paraguayans choose to come to the UK, including:
• Business trips
• Courses of study
• Visiting friends and family
• Medical treatment
No matter their reason for travelling, all applicants will use the same application form, which is “one size fits all”. The ETA gives applicants permission to spend up to six months in the UK. They cannot work while in the country.
Some Paraguayans travel for other reasons. They may be planning to live permanently in the UK, work there (whether temporarily or permanently) or spend more than six months in the country. In this case, they will need to apply for a visa. This is true at present and will remain unchanged by the introduction of the ETA system.
How Will Paraguayan Travellers Be Affected?
Before travelling to the UK, Paraguayans will need to complete the ETA application form. This is only available online. Because the ETA system is completely digital, offline alternatives will not be made available. As part of the application process, applicants must pay a fee. Again, this can be done online.
Some details relating to the requirements for the ETA application have been released. This information has not been finalised and may change as the system is introduced. Nevertheless, it gives visitors an idea of what they will need to prepare for their application. Some of the 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.
The final point is included because one of the objectives of the ETA system is to improve the UK’s safeguarding systems. Applicants who are deemed to present a risk to the security of the UK or its citizens will have their application denied.
The application form must be completed correctly, and the fee must be paid in full before an application can begin to be processed.
Processing the UK ETA for Paraguayan Citizens
In other countries with digital travel permit systems, carriers have generally adopted the approved permit as a condition of carriage. This precedent suggests that the same will happen in the UK, and travellers will be unable to travel without an approved UK ETA for Paraguayan citizens. Boarding may be denied to passengers who are unable to show their ETA at their departure airport.
Travellers will, therefore, need to apply for their ETA with enough time for it to be processed and approved before they begin their journey. The ETA is expected to take up to 72 hours to be fully processed.
A denied ETA does not necessarily prohibit the applicant from entering the UK. Applicants whose initial ETA applications are denied can choose to appeal the decision. If their appeal is also rejected, they can apply for a visa instead. This will be a longer and more complicated process.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Paraguayan Citizens
A Paraguayan who is issued an ETA can spend up to six months in the United Kingdom. They can enrol on a course of study while there, but they are not permitted to work. They can travel freely between the four constituent countries of the UK, which are England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The independent Republic of Ireland has its own entry requirements, and the ETA is not a valid travel document there.
Paraguayans who want to visit other countries while in Europe will need to look up the relevant entry requirements. The UK is not part of the Schengen common travel zone, and the ETA has no validity in any other EU countries. The European Union is currently in the process of introducing its own digital travel permit, known as the ETIAS.
Many Paraguayan citizens hold dual nationality with European countries like Italy, Spain or Germany due to their ancestry. These travellers will also have to go through the ETA application system. As the United Kingdom is not a member of the European Union anymore, European passport holders no longer have the freedom of movement to enter.