A Guide to the UK ETA for Citizens of Argentina
At present, Argentinian citizens can travel to the UK without applying for a visa or any other travel permit. However, this will change in the year 2024, when the new ETA system comes into effect. The ETA replaces the UK’s current programme of visa waivers. Argentinians will need to learn about the system before travelling, so they can enter the United Kingdom with a minimum of hassle.
What Is the UK ETA for Argentinian Citizens?
The ETA, or Electronic Travel Authorisation, is a new digital system that is being introduced to the UK for security reasons. It replaces the current programme of visa waivers. Essentially, it is a digital document that gives permission for a traveller to enter the UK. Travellers who have visited the United States or Canada in recent years will already be familiar with similar systems, such as the US ESTA and Canadian ETA. The application system is quicker and simpler than for a visa.
With an ETA, a visitor can stay in the UK for up to six months. ETAs will be issued for Argentinian visitors travelling for a number of different reasons, including tourism, business, studying, visiting friends or family or receiving medical treatment.
Under the current system, Argentinian citizens who want to stay in the UK for less than six months, as well as those who do not plan to work in the country, can enter without applying for a visa. Going forward, these travellers will need to apply for an ETA. Some Argentinians currently need a visa to enter the UK. For example, if they want to work while in the UK or intend to stay for a long period of six months or more, they require a visa. This will not change under the new system. They will still need to go through a separate visa application process.
Applying for a UK ETA for Argentinian Citizens
Before beginning their journey, Argentinian travellers will need to apply for an ETA. As the ETA is part of a completely digital system, the applications can only be made online. While completing the form, applicants will be asked to pay a fee. This fee is non-refundable. The application will only be processed after it has been paid in full.
It is expected that the UK ETA will have a processing time of up to 72 hours. This means that travellers should apply some days before beginning their journey from Argentina. Argentinian carriers may make an approved ETA a condition of carriage. Therefore, travellers should be ready with their approved ETA before arriving at the airport. If they do not have an ETA when showing up at the gate, they may not be allowed to board the plane.
Requirements for the UK ETA
Although the UK ETA system has not been totally finalised yet, eligibility criteria have already been published. There are 92 countries on the eligibility list. Citizens of these countries will need to apply for an ETA to travel to the UK.
It’s important to note that these countries include the member states of the European Union. Due to their ancestors migrating, many Argentinian citizens have dual nationality, particularly with countries like Italy, Germany, Portugal or Spain. This does not affect the need for a UK ETA for Argentinian citizens with dual nationality. Regardless, citizens of European countries will need to apply for an ETA, just as Argentinian citizens do.
Before beginning the ETA application process, travellers are advised to look at the list of requirements. When filling out the form, travellers will need to provide various information, such as:
• A valid biometric passport from one of the 92 countries on the ETA list.
• A recent digital passport photo.
• Personal information, including date of birth, employment status, etc.
• Details of their planned trip to the UK: reasons for travel, the address at which they are staying, etc.
• The ETA application fee.
In addition to this, travellers will need to disclose some information about their past. This includes a criminal record, any immigration offences and past or present membership of proscribed groups. Travellers may be denied a UK ETA for Argentinian citizens if they are deemed a threat to the security of the UK.
Travelling in the UK With an ETA
Once approved for the UK ETA for Argentinian citizens, travellers have permission to enter the country and stay in the United Kingdom for up to six months. They will need to show their ETA at the airport upon arrival. After that, they can travel freely around the country. There is no internal border control, so Argentinian visitors can move between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland without needing to complete any further paperwork or make any more applications.
Argentinian citizens should be aware that the ETA is only a legally valid document permitting travel to and within the United Kingdom. The UK is not part of the European Union or the Schengen area. Travellers who wish to visit the Republic of Ireland, or any other European country, will need to investigate the entry requirements for these countries separately.
Argentinian Travellers to the UK
The UK ETA for Argentinian citizens will be necessary for those who wish to visit the country from 2024 onwards. There are around 12,000 Argentinians residing in the United Kingdom, so many visitors to the country are coming to see friends and family who have emigrated. Others come to enjoy holidays, visiting cities such as London or Edinburgh, while some come to watch sporting events, like football or rugby matches.
Historically, small Welsh settlements in the region of Patagonia mean that many Argentinians have close ties with Wales, and some may choose to visit the UK for that reason. Approximately 50,000 Argentinians speak Welsh. These visitors may be particularly interested in paying a visit to Wales, where they can explore their ancestral ties.
The UK ETA for Argentinian Citizens
It is hard to estimate exactly how many Argentinians visit the UK each year, as many Argentinians have dual nationality and prefer to travel with their European passport. In particular, over 50% of the population of Argentina has some Italian descent, and many use Italian passports when travelling. When the new system comes into effect, holders of Italian and other European passports will need to apply for an ETA in exactly the same way as holders of Argentinian passports.