The UK ETA for Inverness to Visit the Highland City

Known as the Capital of the Highlands, Inverness is the UK’s northernmost city and lies in the Great Glen. It sits on the Beauty Firth at the mouth of the River Ness, which connects to Loch Ness, home of the fabled monster. Inverness offers many charms for visitors, from ancient to Jacobite history, a castle and cathedral, as well as museums, galleries, dining options and fine shopping experiences.

A Brief History of Inverness

Archaeological evidence has shown that there has been a human settlement in the Inverness area since the Late Mesolithic period (6,500 BC). In late antiquity and early Middle Ages, Inverness was a stronghold of The Picts. It was known to have been visited by St. Columba in 659 AD on a mission to convert the Picts to Christianity.

Mediaeval Inverness was known to have had a castle, if not several, but because of its strategic location, the town saw many conflicts as warring clans fought to gain ground over other clans. The town was the home of Macbeth, the subject of the eponymous play by William Shakespeare.

Inverness has connections with other famous historical names. Mary, Queen of Scots, dwelled in the town, and Oliver Cromwell built a citadel that was demolished following the restoration of the monarchy. In 1727, Fort George was constructed to aid the English in controlling the Scots in Inverness-shire, but it was destroyed during the Jacobite rebellion. The current Fort George was constructed in 1769 and is still an operating fortress – until 2032, when it will be closed.

Things To See and Do in Inverness

Modern Inverness is thriving. It has a stable economy, it regularly features high up in the lists of happiest places in Scotland, and tourism is booming. Here are some places worth seeing:

Inverness Castle,-4.2275507,17z

Although a castle has been known on the site since the 11th century, the current neo-Norman style structure in red sandstone structure dates from 1836. Known as the “Spirit of the Highlands”, Inverness Castle tells the history of the area and provides panoramic views of the city and Highlands beyond.

Inverness Cathedral,-4.2313347,17z

Inverness Cathedral, dedicated to St. Andrew, has the distinction of being not only the most northerly cathedral in the UK but also the first one to have been built after The Reformation. It opened for services in 1869 and is a showcase of stonemasonry and stained glass artistry.

Inverness Botanic Gardens,-4.2425185,17z

Free to enter, visitors can wander around Inverness Botanic Gardens, a green oasis in the city. There are formal gardens and ponds, a wildflower meadow, as well as a cactus house and a tropical house, all filled with a wide array of plants.

Loch Ness,-4.3072638,11.79z

You can’t visit Inverness without taking the 30-minute drive south to Loch Ness. As well as being home to the world-famous monster, the loch is in a spectacular setting, surrounded by the heather-covered hills of the Great Glen. Take a boat trip to try and find Nessie and visit the ancient ruins of Urquhart Castle.

Culloden Battlefield,-4.0978997,17z

The site of the last pitched battle on British soil, the Battle of Culloden in 1745, brought the Jacobite uprising to its end. Explore the site on Drummossie Moor, and in the interactive visitor centre, learn how Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, and the British government’s forces defeated Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie).

Clava Cairns,-4.0753562,17z

Sitting on a terrace above the River Nairn, Clava Cairns is an exceptionally well-preserved ancient cemetery. The three cairns date back 4,000 years to the Bronze Age, and there are also the remains of a mediaeval chapel.

Introducing the New UK ETA for Inverness

In 2022, the UK government announced a change to its border control system. Under the UK ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) scheme introduced by the Nationality and Borders Act, visitors will need to apply for permission to enter the UK before travelling. The ETA will cover all UK airports, sea ports and Eurostar train entry ports.

Why is the UK ETA being implemented?

The new system will simplify the travel process while enabling border control to assess every potential visitor to the UK more quickly. The new system streamlines the process for visitors wishing to visit the UK. With quick and easy online ETA applications being approved and issued within 72 hours, it also enables border control officers to make assessments of every foreign traveller in a timely and accurate manner.

Who needs a UK ETA for Inverness?

The UK ETA applies to all foreign nationals of non-via countries, whether visiting or transiting through the UK. The current ETA eligibility list contains 92 countries, including all EU countries and all visa-exempt countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. The UK ETA applies to visitors who are looking to enter the country for leisure, business, studying or medical treatments.

There are exemptions. All UK and Irish nationals are exempt, as are British passport holders. For anyone who is unsure of how their status is affected, the eligibility list noted above confirms the position of all types of British nationals not residing in the UK who are exempt. There is no age exemption. An ETA is required for travellers of any age. Any person wishing to visit the UK long-term or work long-term requires a visa per the current system.

A UK ETA lasts for 6 months from the date of issue and allows freedom of movement throughout the whole of the UK during this period. An ETA becomes invalid if your passport expires during the 6-month period, and if your current ETA expires during the period, you will need to apply for a new ETA to continue your visit.

How to apply for a UK ETA for Inverness?

An ETA application is made online. No paperwork is required to be submitted, nor is any documentation issued. An accepted ETA is electronically linked to your passport. To apply, you need a valid national biometric passport, email address and a credit or debit card.

The application form requests personal and contact details, passport details and work details. You will also be asked to disclose information regarding immigration violations, health, drug issues and criminal records that may flag you as a potential security threat. Additionally, a debit or credit card will need to accompany the application to complete the payment.

What happens when the UK ETA is granted?

Processing takes 48 to 72 hours, so travellers intending to visit the UK should allow sufficient time to submit their ETA application. When granted, your ETA information is passed to the API (Advance Passenger Information) system. This will enable carriers to check for a valid ETA before they allow individual passengers to board. On arrival in the UK, the ETA enables the traveller to access eGates.

No paper documentation is issued. Your ETA is an eDocument linked to your passport. All UK ETAs and the information you provide are covered by the published terms and conditions and privacy policy.

What happens if a UK ETA for Inverness is refused

Application information is checked against the UK and international immigration and security databases used by the UK Border Force and Home Office. A UK ETA for Inverness may be refused if the information provided is flagged. There is an option to apply for a visa after an ETA refusal, but there is no guarantee that any visitor will be granted entry to the UK. More information about the UK ETA can be found in ETA FAQ.