As part of its efforts to increase border visibility and security, the British government has introduced the UK ETA system as a means of streamlining arrivals and improving overall efficiency for visa-exempt travellers. This guide will provide an in-depth look at the new ETA system and everything there is to know in order to successfully apply for authorisation. We will cover when one should apply for the UK ETA for Romanian citizens, how long it takes to receive an authorisation decision, what documents are needed for application submission and more.
What Is the UK ETA for Romanian Citizens?
The UK ETA is a new online system that will facilitate travel to the United Kingdom for eligible citizens of countries that are currently visa-exempt. Romanian citizens are among those who benefit from the visa waiver programme. The ETA system was created to strengthen and streamline the immigration process while also helping to reduce potential security risks posed by travellers from non-visa countries. The ETA system requires applicants to provide personal information and relevant documents through a secure online form.
Once an application has been approved, the ETA will be linked directly to the applicant’s passport, and they will only need to present their passport upon arrival in the UK. The UK government is currently rolling out its plans for the implementation of an ETA system across all visa-exempt countries worldwide. Therefore, Romanian citizens who plan on visiting the UK from 2024 onwards will need to apply for an ETA prior to their trip if they wish to gain entry into the country without any complications.
How Long Will a UK ETA Permit Last?
The UK ETA is valid for a period of six months or 180 days. Note that the countdown to this period begins with the issuance of the ETA and not from when the traveller enters the UK. This means that applicants must hold a valid passport with at least six months’ validity remaining before its expiry date in order to be approved for an ETA. This requirement helps ensure that individuals are permitted entry into the UK and are able to remain in the country until the end of their stay without renewing their passports.
At 180 days, travellers have enough time to fully explore England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during their visit. To make sure they spend most of the 180 days inside the UK, travellers should strongly consider applying for an ETA one or two weeks prior to their departure date. Additionally, travellers should keep track of how long they have left on their ETA, as exceeding its allotted time frame may result in potential legal consequences.
When travelling with an ETA, visitors will also want to make sure they meet all other requirements set forth by immigration officials, including having enough funds for travel throughout their stay. In addition to meeting these requirements upon arrival in the country, travellers should also remember that it is possible for them to be asked about onward travel plans and any activities planned during their stays, such as work or study programmes.
How Will the ETA Affect Romanian Travellers?
Romania is not currently part of the Schengen zone, which allows for the free movement of people within certain EU countries without the need for visas. However, should everything go according to plan, there are resolutions underway that could see Romania join Schengen by early 2023. If successful, this would allow Romanians to move freely between Schengen countries without additional visas or permits.
Despite the UK government not being part of the Schengen zone, Romanians are able to enjoy visa-free travel into the UK due to their strong passport ranking (17th among global passports). However, this visa-free privilege is all set to change with the implementation of the ETA system from 2024 onwards. Romanians must have a valid ETA before arriving at their UK port of entry. Those who don’t have one risk being refused entry and having their trip cancelled completely. In addition, an online application fee will be applicable for each person requesting an ETA.
Which Groups of Visitors Are Eligible for the UK ETA?
Visitors travelling to the UK for pleasure or leisure purposes are eligible for the ETA. These include individuals looking to explore the rich cultural heritage of the country, visit family and friends, or just take in some of its natural beauty.
Business visitors travelling on legitimate business-related activities, such as attending conferences, conducting research or participating in training courses, are also eligible for an ETA. Business visitors may be asked to present an invitation letter from the British company they intend to visit.
Those wishing to study in the UK for less than six months will also be able to use an ETA instead of a visa. Short-term study programs include language courses, vocational training and other similar programs that do not require more than six months of study for completion.
Individuals visiting the UK solely for medical treatment purposes may also be granted an ETA rather than getting a visa beforehand. This includes Romanian citizens who need outpatient appointments and consultations with doctors, as well as those who require surgery or other treatments that require hospital admission and recovery time afterwards.
Romanian citizens who are planning to transit through the UK can apply for an ETA. The ETA system will not affect airside transit and landside transit.
UK ETA Requirements
In order to obtain a UK ETA for Romanian citizens, applicants must possess a valid biometric passport and meet certain requirements. Firstly, they need to have a clear intention to travel to the UK for tourism, business, medical treatment or transit purposes. Applicants must have no criminal record, and they must demonstrate good character and adherence to previous immigration policies. This includes having no violations or transgressions related to past immigration-related issues while in the UK (or elsewhere). The applicant must demonstrate their intention to leave the UK before their ETA expires. An ETA will only be issued with a validity period of 180 days.
UK ETA Application Process
The process is generally quite straightforward and involves collecting some personal, contact, passport and work information from applicants in order to begin the application process. Additionally, payment information, such as debit or credit card details, may be required. Once all necessary information has been supplied, the processing time is usually around a few days. However, the processing time frame is not guaranteed, with delays being possible due to errors or incomplete information provided during the initial application.
If an ETA application is denied for any reason, Romanian travellers can still apply for a visa through the traditional paper-based application process. This process can be more time-consuming and may disrupt travel arrangements if not planned for well in advance.