Nestled in south Cornwall, Truro is a historic cathedral city with a long trading history as a hub for tin mining. Located on the Truro River that feeds into the English Channel, this is England’s southernmost city and one of the country’s smallest. Despite its size, Truro offers many attractions that span Cornish heritage sites and bucolic gardens. It also sits on the edge of one of Cornwall’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, providing impressive day trips to the coast. Learn what the new UK ETA for Truro means for visitors to Cornwall and how to prepare for this mandatory visitor’s permit.
A Short History of Truro
Early Growth and the Middle Ages
Truro has been occupied since the Iron Age, but its recorded history began in the 14th century. In 1327, it was declared a stannary town under royal declaration, a designation for towns where tin was smelted and its quality assessed for coinage. Truro also commanded southern Cornwall’s trade routes down to Falmouth with protection due to its inland location. As a result, it prospered in the trade of wool, tin and copper and as a fishing town.
By the end of the Middle Ages, Truro was a lively market town that stayed abreast of national events. It gained a Grammar School in 1549 and was granted a new mayoral charter by Elizabeth I in 1589. Truro was a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War and set up a royal mint. Truro’s command of the region shifted when Falmouth gained its own charter, allowing it to fish and trade away from Truro’s influence.
Into the Modern Age
As the desire for tin and copper grew in the 18th century, Truro prospered and grew. It became populated by wealthy land and mine owners, hosted high society gatherings and saw new Georgian and Victorian civic projects and buildings erected. Many of these well-preserved townhouses can be found on Lemon Street today. While Truro’s stannary days were over, it flourished as a port and mining base. Truro became a city in 1877 with the establishment of the Diocese of Truro, which led to the building of Truro Cathedral.
Truro diversified with iron-smelting, tanning and pottery-making through the 19th and early 20th centuries. During the Second World War, it became a site for evacuated children and a base for American troops preparing for D-Day. Following the war, Truro remained a prosperous town, but the surrounding tin industry collapsed in the 1980s as it ceased to be profitable. Today, Truro is a vibrant tourist and administrative centre with lively shopping, dining and activities.
Royal Cornwall Museum
The Royal Cornwall Museum boasts many cultural and heritage artefacts from Cornish life and history. These include extensive mining and engineering collections and Cornish art displays. It is located across several granite Victorian buildings along Truro’s River Street.
Truro Cathedral is the city’s major landmark. Work began in 1880 on the site of an old parish church, and the cathedral was officially completed in 1910. This makes the cathedral the first to be built in the country since London’s St Paul’s. It is built in a Gothic Revival style and contains rich Victorian stained glass.
Trelissick is a regal country estate owned by the National Trust. It is renowned for its formal gardens that contain many unusual world-sourced plants that thrive in the mild Cornish climate. The house itself hosts exhibitions and period-furnished rooms some 4 miles south of Truro.
St Mawes Castle
St Mawes Castle is located 10 miles south of Truro and strategically overlooks the entry to Falmouth Bay. Built by Henry VIII to reinforce England’s coast, it’s among the best-preserved Tudor fortresses in the country. A sister castle, Pendennis, is also found across the bay.
Introducing the New UK ETA for Truro
The United Kingdom will begin implementing its new Electronic Travel Authentication (ETA) system in 2023. This new scheme was outlined in the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 for trial and implementation in the following years. This ETA will affect how visitors plan to travel to the UK, as an online application is now mandatory.
Non-visa nationals will be most affected by the new UK ETA rules. These are individuals travelling from 91 countries that do not currently require a visa for short stays in the UK. While these nationals do not require a visa, they must now apply for permission online with an ETA.
The UK’s ETA scheme has been developed to reflect other global systems. These include the USA’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) and the EU’s European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).
Why Has the ETA System Been Launched?
The UK launched its new ETA system as part of broader changes to its immigration plans. It is designed to pre-check and keep count of visitors arriving in the UK. Previous rules didn’t comprehensively account for non-visa nationals entering the country and were less effective at screening visitors. The new scheme will better check criminal and migration history while bringing the entry process in line with global digital demands.
For visitors to the UK, the ETA offers a new level of reassurance that individuals have a legal right to travel to the UK. This application is done conveniently online, so there is no need to travel to an embassy, consulate or visa centre.
The UK ETA for Truro Application Requirements
The ETA application is designed to be completed quickly as an online process. Applicants are required to provide their name, date of birth, country of birth and travel details, as well as basic contact details. They must then provide a valid biometric passport and a payment card to cover the application costs.
How Long Will the ETA Application Process Take?
The UK ETA should take about 10 minutes to complete online. Upon submission, applicants will receive a confirmation, and their applications will be processed within 48 to 72 hours. Given the processing time, applicants must apply with enough time before they commence travel.
As an ETA will now be a requirement for entry, failure to produce one may lead to the individual being denied entry into the UK or flagged. Most airlines will now be required to check their boarding passengers to ensure they have a valid ETA. Once passengers arrive in the UK, they can now proceed through automatic eGates, which verify ETAs.
How Long Will an ETA Typically Be Valid For?
The UK’s ETA is likely to be valid for 180 days, the standard period allowed for non-visa stays. This is similar to the UK’s existing Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) scheme. Those planning a longer stay in the UK or are planning successive visits to the country must apply for a visa.
When Will the UK ETA for Truro Be Rolled Out?
The UK ETA system is currently in its trial phase and will begin implementation in January 2023. Full rollout is expected by the beginning of 2024.
Who Needs to Apply for an ETA, and Who is Exempt?
All non-visa nationals must now apply for an ETA. This includes all passengers that previously required only a passport to travel. Discover a full list of those non-visa nationals affected here. Exemptions to the ETA rules include Republic of Ireland passport holders and resident permit holders in the UK.
Other exemptions include nationals from countries that require a visa to enter the UK. This is because a similar pre-screening process is included in a standard visa application.
Is an ETA Required to Travel to Truro?
Yes. Non-visa international visitors to Truro will be required to apply for an ETA in the days or weeks before travelling to the UK in 2023. Get more detailed answers and information on the latest ETA developments with this ETA FAQ.
Visiting Truro with an ETA
Truro is Cornwall’s only city and its administrative and cultural centre. This city acts as a gateway to Cornwall with convenient rail and road links. It’s renowned for its well-preserved Georgian city centre, its Gothic Revival cathedral and cultural performances at the Hall for Cornwall. It also boasts a thriving foodie and shopping scene, with produce sourced from across the Cornish peninsula. Explore this richly historic city and its tin mining heritage with a UK ETA. Travel preparation is required for non-visa nationals entering the UK when this online scheme launches in 2023.