New UK travel rules are coming into force that will affect Cypriot citizens. From 2024, the UK is adopting an ETA system. This new travel requirement means that visitors from countries that do not require a visa to visit the UK for short stays, including Cyprus, must now apply for permission in the form of an ETA. Learn what this new ETA means for Cypriot nationals and how to apply for the permit in the guide below.
What Is the UK ETA for Cypriot Nationals
The UK is launching its new ETA system in 2024 and is currently in the trial rollout phase. An ETA, which means Electronic Travel Authorisation, is a new entry requirement for visa-free visitors entering the UK. It allows the UK to pre-screen travellers for transparency and security. The scheme is very similar to existing systems around the world, like the USA’s ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) or Canada’s eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation). The EU, and by extension Cyprus, also has its own ESTA (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) that affects non-EU, visa-free travellers.
This new ETA system was launched as part of the UK’s Nationality and Borders Bill, a scheme to better control and count immigration numbers. Its main aims are to improve border security and fully digitise border access. For Cypriots, visitors to the UK must now apply for and receive an ETA before they enter the country.
The new ETA scheme affects 92 nationalities in total. This includes Cyprus and all other EU states except for the Republic of Ireland. Cypriots can visit the UK with an ETA visa-free for up to 6 months at a time. For those intending to stay longer in the UK, start employment, marry or settle, a visa is required.
How Will the New ETA System Affect Cypriot Citizens?
Cypriot citizens must now apply for an ETA before they intend to travel. Where Cypriots could previously visit the UK freely with a passport, they must now complete an ETA as well. Following the country’s departure from the EU, this programme will change the freedom with which Cypriots previously travelled to the UK.
While an ETA means that Cypriots must now make preparations for their trip in advance, they are not required to apply for a visa. The UK ETA for Cypriot citizens effectively works as a visa waiver to be completed quickly online. No physical paperwork needs to be submitted, and the candidate does not need to visit a consulate or visa centre in person.
Applying for a UK ETA for Cypriot Citizens
The full details of what’s included in an ETA application, including the cost, have still to be finalised. The UK has announced which nationalities will be eligible for an ETA, including citizens of Cyprus. A list of requirements has also been released. These details may change in the future as the ETA is trialled.
Cypriot citizens must start by applying for an ETA online through the official UK portal. The online process is designed to be completed in no longer than 10 minutes. The following will be requested/asked from the applicant during the process:
• A valid biometric passport issued by an eligible country, including Cyprus.
• A recent digital passport-sized photograph.
• Personal details, including full name(s), date of birth and contact details.
• The purpose and details of the applicant’s travel plans in the UK, including dates.
• A credit or debit card to pay the application fee.
Cypriot applicants must also complete a disclosure form to confirm they do not have a criminal history, haven’t committed any immigration offences, and have not been a member of a proscribed group. These must be answered truthfully, as they will be checked. If an applicant is found to be a risk to the UK’s security, their application will be denied. Applicants with a criminal history are usually required to complete a standard visa in lieu of an ETA.
Processing the UK ETA for Cypriot Citizens
The ETA will be submitted once the applicant has paid the non-refundable application fee. It will take between 48 to 72 hours for the ETA itself to be processed. The applicant will receive a confirmation email once their ETA is approved, and only then can they enter the UK.
Given the processing time may reach 72 hours, applicants should apply with enough time before their intended travel date. As an ETA is now mandatory for entry into the UK, it is the responsibility of the applicant to apply promptly. If Cypriot citizens fail to complete an ETA or are still waiting for it to be processed on arrival, they will be denied entry into the UK. Carriers are also expected to check their boarding passengers to ensure they hold a valid ETA before allowing them to depart.
Cypriot travellers can apply for their online ETA from anywhere outside of the UK. This allows for disparate European travel arrangements. An ETA is also valid for all ports of entry into the UK. Regardless of how the applicant plans on arriving in the UK, a valid ETA will be checked against the traveller’s biometric passport. Airports streamline this entry procedure with eGates.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Cypriot Citizens
A UK ETA is valid for all constituent countries in the UK, allowing the traveller to visit England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland without any additional paperwork. An ETA is also valid for visits to British crown dependencies, like the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. As members of the EU, Cypriots are permitted to travel freely in the Republic of Ireland, with an ETA required for crossing into Northern Ireland or Great Britain. Travellers from Cyprus are encouraged to visit the UK ETA FAQ page for additional details.
Cypriots in the United Kingdom
Cypriot citizens are granted visa-free access to the UK with an ETA for up to 6 months at a time. With some 270,000 Cypriots living in the UK, the UK and Cyprus have strong historic links. With ancient Greek artefacts related to Cyprus in the British Museum, there are ample attractions across the UK to explore. Direct flights from Larnaca and Paphos to London, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol, among ample connecting options, provide convenient routes for Cypriot citizens.