UK ETA for Vatican Citizens: Everything There Is To Know

As an efficient way for non-visa countries to travel to the country, the UK government has recently announced the introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system. This guide explores the requirements and benefits of obtaining a UK ETA for Vatican citizens, covering everything from visa application processes to eligibility criteria.

What Is the UK ETA for Vatican Citizens?

The UK ETA is a visa waiver system that enables visitors from 92 countries, including Vatican City, to enter the UK without needing to apply for a visa. Applicants must apply online and provide their personal details as part of their application. This information is then verified against government databases, and if everything checks out, an ETA is electronically generated and linked to the applicant’s passport.

Upon entry into the country, all visitors with a valid ETA must present their passports at immigration control in order for their credentials to be cross-referenced with government databases. This process enables border officials to confirm that applicants meet all necessary requirements for travel and are not deemed high-risk or ineligible for entry due to previously undisclosed information or criminal histories.

How Long Is the UK ETA for Vatican City Valid?

The UK ETA for Vatican citizens is valid for a period of six months from the date of issuance. This means that visitors must plan their trips carefully to ensure they make full use of the allotted time in the UK. For example, travellers should take into account the number of days needed for activities related to their purpose of travel, as well as any delays or cancellations that can occur during their journey.

If visitors from Vatican City exceed the six-month validity period, they will be unable to renew their ETA while inside the UK, as this is not permitted. If a visitor is found to have exceeded their limit, they may face deportation and an indefinite ban from re-entering the United Kingdom. They could also be liable for a financial penalty or even criminal prosecution, depending on how long they have stayed in the country without proper authorisation. Furthermore, anyone who has overstayed their ETA may find it difficult to obtain visas in future when travelling abroad. Ultimately, Vatican citizens should ensure they accurately calculate how much time they need to make full use of their ETAs and avoid unfortunate repercussions.

How Will the UK ETA Affect Vatican Citizens?

The Vatican passport currently ranks 27th in the world as of 2022, allowing citizens to enter 154 countries with relative ease. The UK is one of these countries, having established a visa waiver program (VWP) in July 1988. The VWP allows citizens from select countries to enter the UK without a visa. The main requirement is that they must meet certain criteria and hold a valid passport with travel documents, like tickets or itineraries.

The main purpose of the visa waiver program is to encourage tourism and make it easier for people to visit the UK. However, it is proving increasingly difficult to manage and maintain the visa waiver program without compromising the safety and security of UK citizens. As such, the British government has announced plans to scrap the VWP in 2024 and replace it with the ETA system. Under this new system, Vatican citizens will need a valid ETA if they wish to enter the UK from 2024 onwards.

It should also be noted that there may be additional restrictions or requirements imposed on Vatican citizens wishing to travel to other countries. Thus, careful research should be conducted before making any international trips. For example, Vatican citizens planning onward travels to countries like the United States or Japan will need to apply for a proper visa prior to their trip.

Who Needs To Apply for the UK ETA for Vatican Citizens?

Business People

These are people travelling from Vatican city to the UK for work-related purposes, such as meetings, conferences & seminars, signing contracts, acquiring new business opportunities or conducting training. Business travellers are not allowed to engage in any form of paid work. This includes both full-time and part-time work, as well as internships and other forms of temporary employment.


Those visiting the UK for pleasure may require an ETA as well. While in the UK, tourists can enjoy top attractions, such as The British Museum, Windsor Castle and Stonehenge. Certain documents, such as a driving license, may be necessary to get around in the UK, so it’s critical that visitors take these with them to their destination.

Short-Term Studies

Short-term studies include courses lasting up to 6 months long, such as language courses or exchange programs at universities. Applicants may also need additional documents, depending on their course of studies, such as academic transcripts or proof of enrollment at a recognised institution.


Vatican citizens intending on passing through the UK en route to another destination may require an ETA. Transit ETAs cover travellers who want to make use of airports within Britain, either stopping over or changing flights but not leaving the said area. Note that the ETA system will not affect current landside transit and airside transit rules.

UK ETA Requirements

To be eligible for a UK ETA for Vatican citizens, applicants must have a valid biometric passport and plan to stay in the UK for less than 180 days. They must be visiting for business, transit, short-term studies, pleasure or medical treatment. In addition, all applicants must have no previous violation of immigration policy or criminal records. They must also possess a debit or credit card to pay the application fee and have internet access in order to complete the online application.

UK ETA Application Process

Applying for a UK ETA is expected to be a streamlined online process with no paperwork required. Vatican citizens who meet the eligibility requirements can complete the application in just a few minutes. The processing time may vary, depending on how fast the agents receive the application form. Still, most applications are approved within a few days. If an ETA is denied, Vatican citizens can apply for a visa online and schedule an interview at the UK embassy or consulate in their home country. Learn more about the ETA system here.

Who Doesn’t Need To Apply for the ETA?

There are several groups of people who are exempt from applying for a UK ETA. These include British Overseas Territories citizens, British protected persons, British Overseas Nationals, Irish passport holders, British passport holders and British Overseas citizens. Each of these groups has its own set of requirements that must be met to be considered exempt from an ETA. For instance, British Overseas Territories citizens must have a valid passport from one of the territories that are part of the United Kingdom, such as Gibraltar or the British Virgin Islands.