The UK government has recently announced that a new electronic travel authorisation (ETA) system will be put into place for visa-exempt travellers. The system, which is expected to become fully operational in late 2024, will require all non-visa travellers to obtain an ETA before travelling to the UK. Although the full details of the new system have not been released yet, it is expected that the application process will be relatively simple and that most people will be able to get their ETA online. Read on for more information about the UK ETA for Mauritian citizens and how it will affect travel.
What Is the UK ETA for Mauritian Citizens?
Beginning in 2023, all visitors travelling to the United Kingdom from Mauritius will need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation. An ETA is an electronically stored record of a traveller’s entry clearance that is linked to their passport. The information contained in an ETA includes biographical data, such as a traveller’s name, date of birth, nationality and passport details.
There are already a few countries that have similar authorisation systems in place, including Canada, Australia and the United States. The Mauritian passport ranks 32nd in terms of global mobility — this means Mauritians can enter 145 countries, including the UK, without a visa or with a visa on arrival. However, once the new ETA system is fully in place, no Mauritian traveller will be allowed to enter the UK without a valid ETA — whether by sea, land or air.
How Long Will the UK ETA for Mauritian Citizens Remain Valid?
The UK ETA for Mauritian citizens is valid for six months. The validity starts counting from the day the ETA is issued. This could be a major drawback for people who are not planning to visit the UK in the next few days, as their stay in the UK will be shortened, depending on how many days are remaining on their ETA.
The American ESTA is valid for two years, the Australian ETA is valid for one year, and the Canadian eTA is valid for five years. Mauritian travellers who often visit these countries should obtain the appropriate ETA before their trip. The different validity periods can be confusing, so it is important for Mauritians to check the requirements of the destination or transit country before the trip.
What Can Mauritian Citizens Do in the UK on an ETA?
Mauritian citizens who wish to travel to the UK for business, pleasure or transit can apply for an ETA. Short-term studies of less than six months are allowed on an ETA, but working is not. Those wishing to work in the UK should apply for the correct work visa. Business activities that are allowed on an ETA include attending business meetings and conferences, negotiating contracts and taking part in trade fairs or exhibitions.
Pleasure purposes include tourism, visiting friends & family, and participating in sporting & cultural events. Mauritian citizens travelling on an ETA will need to have a valid passport with an expiration date of not less than six months. They must also have enough money to support themselves during their stay in the UK. Those travelling for business purposes may need to provide evidence of business activities in the UK.
UK ETA Requirements for Mauritian Citizens
Other than having a valid electronic passport, Mauritian citizens must have no criminal history or terrorism charges. In addition, travellers from Mauritius must not have any previous violations of immigration policy, not just in the UK but also in any other countries they’ve visited. ETA applicants must also intend to stay in the UK for less than six months and complete an online application. Prior to boarding their flight, travellers must have an approved ETA.
However, meeting all of these requirements does not guarantee entry into the United Kingdom. A border officer may investigate further if they have concerns about a traveller’s intentions or if they feel a visitor poses a risk to public security or safety. Additional checks or investigations may slow down the process of entering the UK, so travellers are advised to cooperate and allow extra time at the border.
UK ETA Eligibility for Mauritian Citizens
Mauritius is already among the 92 countries that are eligible for the ETA programme. However, Mauritian citizens who have more than one nationality will be required to declare their other nationalities. In addition, they should provide their passport and ID numbers issued by these nationalities, as UK authorities need to have a comprehensive record of the traveller’s identity and nationality.
UK ETA Application Process
The UK ETA application will be done entirely online, making it easy to apply for entry into the United Kingdom. The entire process can be completed in just a few minutes, and once the application has been submitted, a decision will usually be communicated within a few business days. In order to complete the application, travellers from Mauritius will need to provide some basic personal information and passport details. Those still using a traditional passport will need to apply first for a biometric passport at the relevant Mauritian agency.
Applicants will also need to provide information about their current employment situation, including their employer’s contact details. Additionally, applicants will be asked a series of questions to determine their eligibility for the ETA. Examples of these questions include whether they have ever been convicted of a crime or have any medical conditions that may require special attention. Answering these questions truthfully and accurately is critical for ensuring a successful application process.
How Much Is the UK ETA Application Fee?
The cost of the UK ETA application fee has not yet been determined. However, since no applications will be submitted without paying the proper fee, a credit or debit card will be required. Once the payment is successful, the application will enter the review phase. If details are missing or inaccurate, the application will be rejected. Applicants can reapply or apply for a visa instead.
How Many Travellers Will Be Affected by the UK ETA System?
The UK ETA system is estimated to affect 30 million travellers annually. However, the impact will be a soft one, given the application process will be done online and approved or rejected within a few days. With an ETA, travellers will be allowed to enter the UK multiple times within six months. The four UK countries that visitors can explore with the ETA are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Can Travellers Switch to a UK Visa After Entering the UK on an ETA?
No, it is not possible. Travellers from Mauritius who wish to stay in the UK for more than six months should apply for the relevant visa before boarding their flight. Once in the UK, travellers won’t be allowed to renew an expired ETA. Those who overstay their ETA may be subject to fines and deportation. Travellers from Mauritius are encouraged to review the UK ETA FAQ for additional information.