UK ETA Applications Now Open for Gulf Bloc Nations, Jordan Citizens

| February 1, 2024
UK ETA Applications Now Open for Gulf Bloc Nations, Jordan Citizens

The new United Kingdom Electronic Travel Authorization (UK ETA) is now open to serve citizens of more Arab nations.

Starting 1 February 2024, the new UK ETA system will be open to nationals of the remaining Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Jordan citizens.

The six-member Gulf bloc is comprised of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi ArabiaBahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait.

Qatar has benefited from using the new digital travel permit for travel to the UK since November 2023.

“The government also takes a significant step forward in the long-term modernization and enhancement of the UK border’s security,” read the UK Home Office statement.

UK ETA application for Gulf countries and Jordan

The British government announced the start of ETA applications and travel dates for the rest of the Gulf bloc states and Jordan in June 2023.

The ETA replaces the electronic visa waiver (EVW) required for all GCC nationals before traveling to the UK.

On the other hand, Jordan will become a non-visa country. This means its citizens would cease to require a visa to visit England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

“By cutting costs and visa requirements, the ETA scheme will ensure visitors from the Gulf states, and Jordan can enjoy traveling with ease to the UK, boosting business and tourism links between our countries,” Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia Lord Ahmad said in a statement.

Nationals of the Gulf bloc and Jordan must apply for a UK ETA for travels to the UK on and after 22 February 2024.

For trips to the UK earlier than 22 February 2024, GCC citizens will still need an electronic visa waiver (EVN).

On the other hand, Jordanians will still require a visa for trips to the UK earlier than 22 February 2024.

The electronic travel authorization for the UK

The UK government will continue to gradually implement the new ETA system for non-visa nationals throughout 2024.

“Once fully implemented, the scheme will enable a more efficient customer experience and cement the UK as a world leader in border security,” read the UK Home Office statement.

The UK ETA is part of a broader initiative to digitalize and improve the security of the UK borders.

It allows the government more control and oversight over individuals entering the country.

At £10 per application, the ETA is more affordable than the EVW.

The fee is also comparable to similar digital travel permits other countries impose.

Once granted, travelers do not need to apply and pay for an ETA for each visit to the UK.

It is valid for up to two years, allowing multiple short stays of up to six months per visit.

The UK ETA is mandatory for visa-exempt travelers visiting or transiting through England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Visa-required nationals will still need to apply for a UK Standard Visitor visa.

Widening the scope of the Standard Visitor visa

The UK Standard Visitor visa now offers a broader scope of activities, making doing business in the UK easier.

Starting 31 January 2024, the Standard Visitor visa will allow for expanded business activities.

The changes were first announced in the UK government’s Autumn Statement in November 2023.

More details were revealed in December, along with the reform package for legal migration measures. These include the following:

Businesspeople can engage with clients during their UK visit if it’s incidental to their work and not considered outsourcing.

Remote work is permitted, but it can’t be the sole reason for visiting the UK. Digital nomads must apply for a suitable UK work visa.

Legal professionals can now do more activities, including providing advice, acting as expert witnesses, participating in arbitrations and legal proceedings, and teaching.

Scientists, researchers, and academics may conduct research during their visit, except those applying for a 12-month visit visa or extending permission from within Britain.

Visiting flight crews, including pilots and cabin crew, can come to the UK under specific aviation arrangements.

The Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) Visitor route will be integrated into the Standard Visitor route, streamlining the process for all visitors.

Individuals who plan to do paid speaking engagements will only need a single visa.

However, permitted paid engagement visitors must still schedule their activity within 30 days of arrival.

The broader scope of activities for business professionals also applies to non-visa nationals traveling to the UK with an electronic travel authorization.

“These changes demonstrate the government’s commitment to welcome those who are here to contribute their skills and talents to our society and economy,” said the Home Office.