Sunderland is a town in North East England. It is situated on the River Wear and has a long history as a port town. Sunderland is home to the National Glass Centre and the Sunderland Empire Theatre. It’s also home to the Stadium of Light, the home ground of Sunderland AFC. The city is also host to several annual events, including the Sunderland International Airshow, which attracts over two million spectators.
In 2023, the UK government will be introducing a new ETA system for visitors from certain countries. The UK ETA will be similar to the US ESTA system or the Canadian eTA. With a UK ETA for Sunderland, visitors will be able to enter the country for transit, tourism or business purposes without applying for a visa in advance.
A Brief History of Sunderland
Records show that settlements along the River Wear began as early as 674 when Benedict Biscop founded a monastery. The Benedictines later acquired a piece of land adjacent to the monastery, but this was abandoned after Viking invasions in the late 9th century. In 930, the Bishop of Durham took over the land, and a small fishing village had sprung up by 1100. This village was officially recognised as a town in 1154.
Sunderland’s Early Industries
The city developed as a port in the 12th century, and by the 14th century, shipbuilding had become one of its primary industries. In 1589, the city began to produce salt, and coal mining quickly became another crucial economic activity. Sunderland’s coal was in high demand, and it was exported to London and East Anglia.
The city also exported pottery, lime, ropes and glassware. In 1634, Bishop Thomas Morton granted a charter that allowed for the appointment of 12 aldermen and a mayor. In 1822, Hetton Colliery Railway opened, further boosting Sunderland’s economy.
Sunderland in the 20th Century
In the 20th century, Sunderland experienced a period of significant growth. The population stood at 146,000 in 1901, and the city saw a number of new developments, including the opening of the Empire Theatre and the construction of council houses. In 1992, Sunderland Polytechnic was granted university status, and the city was given official city status.
In the later years of the century, Sunderland continued to invest in cultural infrastructure, with the opening of the Sunderland City Library and Arts Centre in 1995 and the Stadium of Light in 1997. Thanks to these investments, Sunderland is now a thriving cultural hub as well as an educational centre.
Points of Interest in Sunderland
Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
The Sunderland Museum is a municipal museum founded in 2001, and it houses a wide range of artefacts that document the city’s growth from a small fishing village to a major centre of industry. Among the highlights of the museum’s collections are the first ever Nissan car, which was built in Sunderland in 1986, and a rare example of 19th-century Sunderland Lustreware ceramics.
The museum also houses a taxidermied lion exhibit and the only known example of a British gliding reptile. Winter Gardens is home to 2000 plant species, as well as a treetop walkway. Together, the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens provide a fascinating glimpse into the past, present, and future of the city.
National Glass Centre
The National Glass Centre is a cultural venue that opened in 1998. The aim of the Centre is to educate visitors about the glass-making industry and its history. Glass-making was started by French glaziers in the 7th century. At first, only stained glass was produced. The industry soon began to produce other types of glassware, such as bottles and window panes.
The use of coal and sand led to the industry’s growth in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the National Glass Centre offers daily glassblowing demonstrations. Visitors can watch as skilled artisans create beautiful pieces of glassware. The Centre has a shop where visitors can purchase glassware made on-site.
Herrington Country Park
Once an open-cast mine, Herrington County Park has been transformed into a haven for nature lovers, with walking and cycling trails, a lake for model boats and over 50 species of birds. Kids will love the adventure play area, and visitors of all ages can make friends with the park’s waterfowl by buying healthy bird feed from the on-site store. The annual Kubix Music Festival is held here every August.
The UK ETA for Sunderland
The UK ETA system is a new electronic visa waiver system that will be launched sometime in 2023. The system will streamline the visa application process for visitors from countries that are currently not required to obtain a visa to enter the UK. These visitors will now be able to apply for Electronic Travel Authorisation online.
The ETA will be valid for 180 days and allow multiple UK entries during this period. The UK ETA for Sunderland is part of the government’s effort to make it easier for visitors from non-visa countries to travel to the UK. The system will also help to boost tourism and trade by making it simpler and faster for travellers to obtain the necessary documentation to visit the UK.
UK ETA for Sunderland Application Process
The UK ETA application process will be done entirely online through an official government portal. Applicants are expected to submit basic biographical information, as well as answer questions about their travel plans and criminal history. The entire process should take about 10 minutes to complete. Once submitted, the application will undergo a review process that takes about 72 hours.
During this time, a trained agent will review the information provided and may contact the applicant if additional information is needed. If everything is in order, the applicant will be approved for travel and will receive an electronic confirmation. Otherwise, the applicant will be notified of any issues that need to be addressed.
UK ETA for Sunderland Requirements
There are still some ETA requirements that visitors must meet in order to be eligible for Electronic Travel Authorisation. Applicants must intend to visit the UK for a period of 180 days or less. They must be citizens of an eligible country; at present, there are 92 countries on the list, including members of the European Union.
Applicants must also have a clean criminal record, and they must pay the application fee using a debit or credit card. It’s essential that applicants never board their flight to the UK without first receiving confirmation that their ETA application has been approved.
UK ETA Exemptions
The United Kingdom has a number of exemptions from the requirement to obtain an ETA prior to travelling to the country. British passport holders and Irish passport holders are exempt. A few groups of British Nationals are also exempt, including British protected persons, British Overseas Nationals and British Overseas Territories citizens. Visitors can learn more about the eligibility criteria on this page.
Will the UK ETA Affect Airside Transit and Landside Transit Rights?
The ETA will not affect airside or landside transit rights. This means that visa-exempt passengers will still be able to transit through UK airports without having to clear immigration. Similarly, landside transit passengers will still not need to go through immigration if they remain in the designated areas of the airport. This is good news for both travellers and airlines, as it means that there will be no disruption to the existing transit without visa arrangements.
Will Visitors’ Data Be Shared With Carriers?
The UK’s new ETA system will collect biometric and travel information from applicants, which will then be shared with the air, land and sea carriers. The only data that will be shared is that which pertains to the admissibility of travellers. Carriers will still need to check for passports and other travel documents. All data collected by the UK government will be subject to strict confidentiality measures.
Will Visitors Be Able To Switch to a UK Visa After Entering the Country on an ETA?
At present, there is no way to switch from an ETA to a UK visa while inside the country. Visitors who enter the UK on an ETA will need to leave the country and apply for a visa from the British embassy or consulate in their home country before they can return. This can be a significant inconvenience. Additional information can be found on the UK ETA FAQ page.
Visiting Sunderland under the UK ETA Programme
Sunderland offers a wide range of attractions, including the National Glass Centre, the Stadium of Light and the Winter Gardens. Visitors can also enjoy various activities, such as shopping in the many stores or taking a walk along the River Wear. With a UK ETA for Sunderland, visitors can begin planning their trip to the country without having to worry.