The United Kingdom will introduce its new authorisation system for travellers by the year 2024. This new programme is replacing the current system of visa waivers and will have an impact on Bruneians who are travelling to the UK. This guide explains all about the UK ETA for Bruneian citizens, including how it works, how to apply for it and what travellers can expect from the new system.
What Is the UK ETA for Bruneian Citizens?
The ETA, or Electronic Travel Authorisation, is a replacement for the UK’s current visa waiver programme. Designed to give the British government greater oversight over people entering and leaving the country, this is part of a programme to digitalise the borders and increase security. The ETA programme is based on systems that are currently in place in other countries, particularly the American ESTA and the Canadian ETA.
The ETA is not a visa, and Bruneians will find the application system to be far quicker and more straightforward than a visa application system. It is a digital permit that grants a traveller permission to enter the United Kingdom.
How Does the ETA Affect Bruneian Travellers?
As a member of the Commonwealth, Brunei has an entry agreement with the UK. Its citizens do not need to apply for a visa to enter the country. Under the new system, they will still not require a visa. However, they will need to apply for an ETA before they are permitted to travel to the UK. Bruneians are not unique in this system. Citizens of 92 countries fall under the ETA programme and need to apply for an ETA to enter the UK.
While most Bruneians who visit the UK do so for tourism, there are other purposes they may travel to the country. The ETA is not purely for tourists and will be issued to travellers who are coming for a number of different reasons. These reasons may include the following:
• Business trips
• Short-term courses or study programmes
• Visits to friends and family
• Medical treatment
However, some Bruneians will need to apply for a visa. This is true under the current system and will not change when the ETA programme comes into effect. These include Bruneian citizens who want to live permanently in the UK, work in the country or stay there for a period of longer than six months. A number of different visas are available, depending on the circumstances. The visa application system is entirely separate from the ETA and is significantly more complicated.
Applying for the UK ETA for Bruneian Citizens
The ETA application form is part of a digital system. It is only available online. At present, not all the information about the application process has been released, as the system is still being finalised. However, the government has shared some details about the programme. This information may still change as the ETA is implemented, but it gives travellers an overview of how applications will work and what they can expect from the system.
Applicants should make sure they are familiar with the list of requirements for the ETA before they start travelling. Some things they will need for an ETA application include the following:
• A valid biometric passport from a country on the list of eligibility.
• A recent digital passport photo.
• Personal information, which will include the date of birth, employment information, contact details, etc.
• The reason for the traveller’s visit to the UK.
• Some details about the planned trip to the UK, such as address while in the country.
• Payment for the ETA application fee.
As well as this, applicants will need to disclose certain information about their past. One of the objectives of the ETA system is screening out travellers who present a potential security threat to the United Kingdom and its citizens. To that end, applicants will be asked if they have a criminal record, if they have ever committed any immigration offences, and if they are currently or have ever been a member of a proscribed group or organisation.
Processing the UK ETA for Bruneian Citizens
As part of the application process, travellers need to pay a non-refundable fee. This must be paid in full before the application can be processed.
Travellers should ensure that they apply for the ETA with plenty of time to spare. It is anticipated that an ETA application will take up to 72 hours to be processed. Furthermore, carriers are expected to make a completed ETA a condition of carriage. Travellers should be prepared to show an approved UK ETA for Bruneian citizens when they are at their departure airport. If they are unable to do so, they may be denied boarding. They will need to show their ETA again when they arrive at their destination and pass through UK border control.
If an ETA application is denied, a traveller will be able to appeal the decision. This will take more time. In the event that the denial is upheld, it may be necessary for a traveller to apply for a visa, which is a lengthier process.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Bruneian Citizens
Once a Bruneian traveller has been approved for an ETA, they can spend up to six months in the United Kingdom. Within the UK, there is no border control between the four constituent countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This means that travellers with an approved ETA can move freely between them, taking any means of transport they prefer. The ETA does not cover the Republic of Ireland, which is an independent country.
Bruneian travellers who wish to visit other European countries will need to look into the relevant entry requirements before travelling. The UK is not a member of the European Union or the Schengen zone, and the ETA has no validity in other countries.
Bruneians in the UK
Brunei is a member of the Commonwealth and has close ties to the UK, with a particularly strong military connection between the two nations. Many Bruneians choose to come to the UK to study, with an estimated 2,000 students enrolled in British institutions. Due to the tight links between the two countries, the UK is a popular choice for Bruneian holidaymakers.