The United Kingdom recently announced the introduction of a new Electronic Travel Authorisation system, known as the ETA, to replace the visa waiver program (VWP). The UK ETA is designed to improve border security and facilitate travel for citizens from non-visa countries. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the requirements for obtaining a UK ETA for Polish citizens and what to expect when travelling to the UK with this authorisation.
What Is the UK ETA for Polish Citizens?
The UK is planning to introduce their ETA system from 2024 onward. This system will help streamline the immigration process and make it easier for travellers from Poland, as well as other countries, to enter the UK for business, leisure or transit without a visa. The UK ETA system will be similar to the American ESTA or Canada’s eTA. It also heavily borrows from the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, the ETIAS.
The UK ETA system will work by being linked electronically with a traveller’s passport at the time of approval. When a traveller arrives at a port of entry in England, they will be asked to present their passport for verification. All Polish travellers must have an approved ETA application before boarding any flights or boats in order to enter England. Obtaining an approved ETA is essential for ensuring successful access into England, as without it, entry will be denied.
How Long Is the UK ETA for Polish Citizens Valid?
The UK ETA for Polish citizens is valid for a period of six months or 180 days, starting from the date of issuance. This means that in order to make the most of their visit, travellers need to plan their trip accordingly so that they can enter the UK early enough and leave before their ETA expires. Note that an ETA cannot be renewed from within the United Kingdom, so it is critical that visitors ensure their stay does not exceed the 180-day limit.
Polish citizens planning on going to the UK for longer periods of time should consider applying for a visa instead, as this will provide them with greater flexibility when travelling. However, under most circumstances, visas take longer to process than an ETA application does. Furthermore, visas may also be subject to additional restrictions or conditions, such as a minimum salary requirement or proof of return travel arrangements.
Those who overstay their visit on an ETA may be refused entry into the UK on future trips and even face deportation. For this reason, visitors should always make sure they have sufficient funds available during their trip and are aware of how much time they can remain in the country before leaving again.
Which Groups of Visitors Are Eligible for a UK ETA?
Business visitors may include people coming to the UK to meet with potential clients or suppliers, conduct market research, take part in conferences or trade shows, attend business meetings and interviews, carry out inspections or give advice on behalf of a foreign company. Business visitors are not permitted to engage in any form of paid employment in the UK during their trip.
This includes tourists and those travelling for leisure activities such as sightseeing, attending sporting events or cultural activities, shopping trips and short-term study courses (under six months). Pleasure visitors must have sufficient funds to cover all costs associated with their visit and must not take up any paid employment during this period.
Polish citizens who are travelling through the UK en route to another destination may also qualify for an ETA under certain conditions. Airside transit applies when a passenger is transiting through the international area of a British airport on the same day and departing from the same airport. This means the traveller won’t have to pass through immigration control.
Landside transit applies when a passenger is required to pass through immigration control at a port of entry in order to travel onward outside of Britain. The rules relating to airside transit and landside transit will not be affected by the introduction of the ETA system, and passengers will still be able to travel as normal — provided they can demonstrate that they meet all necessary requirements.
UK ETA Eligibility
Travellers from Poland and the other 91 listed countries are eligible to apply for an ETA in order to enter the UK. However, being a citizen of one of these countries does not guarantee approval of the ETA application. The Home Office may reject applications if they consider the traveller to be a risk to UK security.
UK ETA Requirements
A valid electronic passport is essential for anyone wishing to apply for an ETA. The primary benefit of having an electronic passport is that it makes international travel much smoother and faster by allowing holders to be quickly identified electronically at border control points. This enables quicker processing times, as well as eliminates the need for paper documents when travelling between countries that accept ePassports.
Furthermore, the security features incorporated into electronic passports significantly reduce the risk of identity theft and fraudulent use through digital authentication and biometrics, such as fingerprints and facial recognition technology which are stored within them. Poland started issuing biometric passports as early as August 2006. Therefore, travellers with traditional passports must first apply for a biometric passport at the Polish Ministry of the Interior.
In addition to possessing a valid biometric passport, applicants must demonstrate that they have no intention of visiting the UK for any other purpose than tourism, business, transit or medical treatment. The applicant must also prove they plan on making a short-term stay of six months or fewer and that they do not possess any criminal record nor have committed any immigration violations in other countries. Here is a full list of all the ETA requirements.
UK ETA Application Process
The ETA application process involves submitting a detailed application form online. Applicants must visit the official government website in order to apply for an ETA. When completing the application form, applicants must provide personal information, passport information, nationality information, contact information and work history. Additionally, they must answer a series of eligibility questions that are designed to assess whether they meet the requirements to travel to the UK.
Once all of this information has been entered into the form, applicants will be required to pay an application fee. This fee is non-refundable. After paying the fee and confirming the submission of their application, applicants must wait for the processing period, which will typically take a few days. The time frame depends on how quickly officials can process the application and verify all submitted information. Once approved by officials and granted an ETA, applicants are free to travel into the UK within 6 months from when the ETA was issued.
What Happens if Polish Citizens Are Denied an ETA?
If Polish citizens are denied an ETA for a visit to the UK, there are several visa options available. Depending on the reason for their trip, they may be eligible to apply for a standard visitor visa, a marriage visitor or a student visitor visa.