From 2024 onward, Vanuatu visitors looking to visit the UK will have to prepare for the UK’s new ETA system. This new travel permit applies to nationals, like Vanuatu citizens, that do not require a visa to visit the UK. It is to be applied for by Vanuatu citizens before they travel to the UK and will be mandatory for entry. Learn all about how this new UK ETA for Vanuatu citizens works and the application process in this guide.
What Is the UK ETA for Vanuatu Nationals
The UK will launch its new ETA system fully in 2024. An ETA, which stands for Electronic Travel Authorisation, is a digital permission-to-travel scheme that is mandatory for most non-visa nationals. The system works similarly to other national entry permit schemes and visa-waiver schemes, like the USA’s ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) and Australia’s Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).
The UK’s ETA system has been developed as part of a broader travel policy outlined in 2022’s Nationality and Borders Bill. This bill aims to strengthen the UK’s border security, control migration numbers and digitise the entry process. Visitors from Vanuatu must apply for the new ETA online for verification upon arrival with a valid biometric passport.
The UK’s new ETA rules are set to affect 92 visa-free countries worldwide, including Vanuatu and other Oceanic countries. These 92 countries do not normally require a visa to visit the UK for short stays as a tourist or visitor undertaking activities generally permitted by a Standard Visa. With a UK ETA, Vanuatu citizens can travel visa-free to the UK for up to 6 months.
How Will the New ETA System Affect Vanuatu Citizens?
Vanuatu citizens must now apply for permission in the form of an ETA before they commence travel to the UK. Such a step was not necessary before, as travellers were granted 6 months upon entry by presenting their passports. While this doesn’t affect the type or length of travel to the UK that Vanuatu citizens have access to, it will mean an additional step must be completed before they are allowed entry.
Vanuatu citizens still do not require a visa to visit the UK. They will, however, have to submit an application for the UK ETA for Vanuatu citizens. This application is to be completed conveniently online and does not require any physical documents or in-person consulate or visa centre visits. The applicant must wait for their ETA to be confirmed before they arrive in the UK with their passport.
Applying for a UK ETA for Vanuatu Citizens
The UK’s ETA system is in its trial phase and may still be altered going forward. However, fundamental information about the application is known. A list of all nationals now eligible for an ETA has been announced to include Vanuatu.
Vanuatu nationals must apply for an ETA online through the official UK portal before they arrive in the UK. The application process itself is expected to take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. A list of requirements has been released outlining the information that will be submitted during the application process. Costs are as yet undecided. This may change as the ETA is released, but you can expect to submit the following information to gain a successful ETA:
• A valid biometric passport issued by an eligible country, such as Vanuatu.
• A recent digital passport-sized photograph.
• Personal details, including full name(s), date of birth and contact details.
• The purpose and details of travel arrangements within the UK, such as hotel reservations.
• A credit or debit card to pay the ETA application fee.
The ETA also works to strengthen the UK’s security by screening applicants for past offences. The applicant must disclose information on criminal history, immigration offences or membership to prohibited organisations. Applicants deemed a risk to the UK will be denied an ETA at this stage.
Processing the UK ETA for Vanuatu Citizens
The ETA application will be quick to complete, taking no more than 10 minutes to submit. Upon completion, the applicant must wait for their ETA to be processed and confirmed. This can take from 48 to 72 hours in total. While the UK aims to minimise this waiting time, delays and application rejections can occur. A confirmation email will be sent when the applicant’s ETA has been approved.
It is recommended that Vanuatu applicants submit an ETA at least 72 hours before their intended travel date, if not earlier. As an ETA is now mandatory for UK entry, delays or late submissions jeopardise the applicant’s permission to enter the UK. If an application is not successful, there is expected to be an appeals process.
Airlines travelling directly to the UK are expected to check passengers to ensure they hold valid ETAs. Failure to present an ETA may result in the passenger being denied boarding. All passengers arriving in the UK, whether by air, sea or train, are required to present their ETA to border security on arrival. Airports possess streamlined eGates where passports can be scanned to confirm ETAs for digital border access.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Vanuatu Citizens
A UK ETA is valid for travel throughout the United Kingdom and Crown Dependencies, giving Vanuatu citizens the right to travel across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland without extra paperwork. They can also travel to the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, among other dependencies. Vanuatu citizens also do not require passports to visit the Republic of Ireland, but travel to other European countries will require a Schengen visa.
Vanuatu in the United Kingdom
Vanuatu nationals have access to visa-free travel to the UK with an ETA. The UK and Vanuatu have reciprocal travel arrangements, in part due to its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations, and the two countries continue to develop relationships. Travellers from Vanuatu are encouraged to review the UK ETA FAQ page for additional information.
Despite Vanuatu’s small population of 315,700, the UK remains an attractive destination with many cultural attractions that appeal to Vanuatu citizens, including the British Museum’s Vanuatu collection. There are no direct flights between Vanuatu and the UK. However, common layover routes are taken via Australia and New Zealand.