Italians planning to visit the UK in 2024 will need a new entry permit to cross the borders. Pre-Brexit European agreements still apply to Italians, and they don’t require a visa to visit the UK. However, with the introduction of the ETA system, travellers need a permit before getting on an aeroplane to the UK. Here is a comprehensive guide to the new UK ETA for Italian citizens, including the requirements and the application process during its rollout:
What Is the New UK ETA for Italian Citizens?
The United Kingdom plans to launch a new border control system that will register the number of people leaving or entering the country. Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is a digital system that allows visitors from Italy to apply for a permit before travelling to the UK. The new system will be similar to United States’ digital visa system and allows the authorities to perform security checks before visitors enter the UK.
The UK Home Office believes the programme will be effective from 2024 and is expected to process over 30 million applications annually. The new UK ETA only applies to countries with visa agreements with the UK. For instance, at the moment, Italian citizens don’t require a visa for a short-term visit to the UK. That means the UK government cannot keep track of Italian citizens entering or leaving the country.
The primary role of the ETA system is to tighten border controls. With an ETA, border authorities can count the number of Italian citizens entering or leaving the country. It is also easier to check for security threats before a traveller leaves Italy. The information provided during the ETA application allows the UK authorities to determine if a visitor poses a security risk to the UK or has previous immigration issues.
Aside from blocking travellers considered as security risks, the new UK ETA allows Italians to plan their UK trip instead of being turned back at the border. Travellers apply for the ETA before they get to the airport and are assured they will be granted entry into the country. Carriers are also guaranteed that the passengers will have permission into the country instead of being turned back at the border.
The UK government will achieve the ETA through the Nationality and Borders Bill. The bill lays the groundwork for enforcing the ETA scheme, including the requirements, application process and validity of the ETA. It also provides the grounds to refuse or cancel an ETA.
What Are the Effects of the ETA on Italian Citizens?
The new UK ETA for Italians affects the border crossing requirements. For instance, Italian citizens are from a non-visa country and don’t need any documents to cross the UK borders or traverse the countries in the United Kingdom territory. However, with the introduction of the ETA, Italian citizens will require a new permit to enter the UK. The carrier will check the individual travel permissions of Italian citizens before travel to avoid penalty charges.
The ETA will allow Italians to travel throughout the UK as tourists for short-term stays. For instance, visitors can stay in British territory for six months with the ETA. That means travellers can use the ETA for tourism and business purposes due to the short-term nature of the engagements. Italians can also use the ETA to visit the UK for medical treatments or short-term study in British institutions. While visiting friends and family is allowed for ETA-holders, travellers cannot work or perform any income-generating activities in the UK without acquiring the necessary visa and work permit.
The Application Process for the UK ETA for Italian Citizens
The application for the UK ETA will be completed online, and travellers don’t need to visit the British consulate or embassy to get the travel permit. Before a visitor begins the application process, they should be ready to provide the following information:
• Personal information: A traveller needs to provide their name and other personal details. Visitors with one name should use the LNU characters ‘Last Name Unknown’ or FNU ‘First Name Unknown’ since the first and last names are mandatory. It is also important to indicate the date of birth and gender.
• Passport: The biometric passport should provide information on the country of citizenship, issuance date, expiry date, passport number and other nationalities of the applicant. A visitor should travel with the passport used for the application since the ETA will be attached to the passport number, and a different passport number will not work.
• Contact information: A traveller must provide their home address, postal code, city and country of residence. A valid email address should also be provided to contact the applicant on the success or rejection of the ETA application. Sometimes, a telephone or mobile number is required.
• Travel information: A traveller must provide travel information, including the purpose of the travel and the place of residence in the UK. Visitors staying in a hotel should provide the booking details of the hotel, while travellers visiting different towns should provide their itinerary.
• Eligibility questions: Some eligibility questions that a traveller is likely to encounter are immigration issues like border or visa denials, criminal history, drug possession or usage history and terrorism activities or charges. Travellers also need to answer health-related questions like vaccinations, existing infections and immunisations.
• Debit/credit card information: For online processing of the UK ETA for Italian citizens, payment methods need to be submitted. With the payment, an application can be approved and processed.
The ETA application takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete, but processing takes 48 to 72 hours. When the application is approved, a traveller will receive a confirmation email. Hence, applicants must apply several days before travel to avoid delays due to the processing time. Italian citizens don’t need to print the confirmation email. When scanned, the passport number used for the application will show an approved ETA at the border.
The Benefits of the UK ETA for Italian Citizens
The new UK ETA is intended to benefit Italians and the UK government. For instance, the ETA allows for faster screening and processing at the UK borders. With prior information on all travellers, UK border control will be better equipped to fight crimes and make the UK safe for foreign nationals and British citizens. Since the ETA system is automated, Italians will enjoy faster border checks. The border authority will review the visitor’s information before granting an ETA. At the border, the authorities will only be scanning for the validity of the ETA instead of checking for other risks.
The new ETA system allows Italians to apply for a travel permit from any country worldwide instead of visiting the UK embassy in Italy. The processing time is also short and allows visitors to plan their itinerary. For more information, Italian travellers can review the UK ETA FAQ section.