UK ETA for Newcastle Upon Tyne and Its Impact on Visitors

Newcastle upon Tyne is a richly historic northern English city. Often simplified as Newcastle, it’s the regional capital of the North East and has been settled since the Roman era. While the city became famous internationally as an industrial and shipbuilding centre, it’s known today for its vibrant culture that’s thrived through regenerated quay and factory projects. Newcastle is also a gateway to England’s Northumberland region, home to the country’s northernmost national park and iconic sights like Hadrian’s Wall. Visitors to Newcastle upon Tyne should prepare for the new UK ETA requirements impacting international visitors. Get to know Newcastle’s history and culture before learning how to apply for an ETA.

A History of Newcastle upon Tyne

From Roman importance to Mediaeval trading port

Newcastle upon Tyne’s recorded history began in AD 122 with its settlement by Romans. The Romans built a bridge and fort over the River Tyne close to present-day Newcastle, known as Pons Aelius, to link a military road with Hadrian’s Wall. Other fortifications followed, including Segedunum in Wallsend, making the area a strategic base for northern advancement. Newcastle remained populated through the Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods, the latter of which saw the building of the castle that gave the town its name.

Newcastle has seen successive conflicts with — and even occupation by — the Scots due to its border proximity. This would lead to it becoming one of northern England’s major fortresses during the Middle Ages, where it thrived as an export port trading goods with the Baltics and Germany. The town grew to include town walls, gates and a thriving religious centre that was home to friaries, like Blackfriars and nunneries.

From industrial giant to a cultural centre

Newcastle had been a crucial coal town since the mediaeval period, but its strength grew during the Industrial Revolution, gaining its city status in 1882. It grew into the UK’s third-largest shipbuilding centre and diversified into heavy manufacturing, glassmaking and pottery. Much of present-day Newcastle was forged during its Victorian heyday, thanks to expansive civic projects and the construction of Grey Street by the classical architect Richard Grainger.

Like many other industrial cities, Newcastle suffered from a manufacturing decline following World War II. With shipping and manufacturing companies collapsing, the once important quayside areas of Newcastle and Gateshead became derelict. A plan to revitalise this historic region blossomed in the 1990s, and today, it has been regenerated with cultural attractions, shops and restaurants. The changing fortunes of the area were symbolised by the opening of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge in 2001 – now a landmark of modern Newcastle.

Newcastle upon Tyne’s Attractions

Newcastle’s attractions stretch from its historic Victorian city centre to the revitalised Quayside area.

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

The Baltic is Newcastle’s answer to the Tate Modern, a converted former grain store that hosts contemporary art events, performances and more. Located across the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, it forms part of Newcastle’s modern waterfront image alongside the neighbouring Sage Gateshead concert hall.

Victoria Tunnel

The Victoria Tunnel is a 19th-century subterranean tunnel complex that runs beneath Newcastle. Once used to transport coal and other materials, it now hosts pre-booked tours that detail the tunnel’s history as both a Victorian wagonway and Second World War air-raid shelter.

Great North Museum: Hancock

The Great North Museum is a museum of natural history situated on Newcastle University’s campus. Originating from the collections of naturalists Marmaduke Tunstall and John Hancock, it was established at its present location in 1884 and has since grown to include full-size life-cast animal displays and a detailed history of Hadrian’s Wall.

Discovery Museum

The Discovery Museum is a museum of local Newcastle history spanning Roman times to the present. It includes shipbuilding and military history displays, including the fastest steam-turbine ship of its time, the Turbinia. It’s located in an imposing Victorian office space with three floors of exhibitions.

Introducing the New UK ETA for Newcastle upon Tyne

The United Kingdom has launched its new Electronic Travel Authentication (ETA), a system to tighten and strengthen the country’s border security. The new system was outlined in the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, alongside steps to change other aspects of the immigration process. The aim of the act is to better understand and control the number of visitors arriving in the UK.

The new UK ETA for Newcastle upon Tyne will radically change how foreign visitors visit the UK. Where previous visa-free rules meant that people from certain countries were allowed to enter the UK for short stays with just a passport, they now must apply for an ETA before arrival. Most non-visa foreign nationals are impacted by this change.

The general design of the UK’s ETA system is much like the USA’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Similar rules are also being launched in the EU as the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

Why Has the ETA System Been Launched?

In short, the ETA system has been launched to track immigration numbers. Where detailed information was never previously recorded, now it will be. A further step is improved border security. With an ETA, visitors will be screened before they arrive to determine their eligibility. If details like a criminal record or previous violations are flagged, their entry will be denied.

The ETA system has also been launched to streamline the entry process and update it for modern-day travel needs. What’s more, with an ETA, travellers will be better reassured that they have permission to land.

What Are the New Requirements for a UK ETA Application?

Most visitors to the UK will need to apply for an ETA online before arriving. To do this, they must submit an ETA application. This form is straightforward and will ask for basic data information regarding the full name, birth date, country of birth and contact information of the person travelling to the UK. Applicants must also provide a valid biometric passport and payment details for the application fee.

How Long Does the ETA Application Take to Process?

The UK’s ETA application process is designed to be completed quickly so as not to affect last-minute holidays. It will take between 48 to 72 hours for confirmation. At the end of the process, the applicant will receive: (i) a confirmation email of submission and then (ii) an ETA confirmation to be shown when travelling.

Failure to obtain an ETA may lead to denied entry. Airlines will check passengers before boarding and reject those without a valid ETA. Upon arrival in the UK, passengers can access the country through streamlined eGates to reduce time spent at border control.

How Long Will an ETA Typically Be Valid For?

An ETA is expected to coincide with current UK Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) timeframes. As such, an ETA will be valid for 180 days.

When Will the UK ETA for Newcastle upon Tyne Be Rolled Out?

The UK ETA scheme is currently in its trial phase and will roll out in January 2023. It is expected to be fully implemented from the beginning of 2024.

Who Needs to Apply for an ETA, and Who is Exempt?

Most non-visa nationals will need to apply for an ETA before travel. This will affect Commonwealth, European and other nations with existing visa-free travel agreements, like Japan and South Korea. Find the full ETA eligibility list here.

Visitors that do need to apply for a visa will not be asked to also apply for an ETA. That’s because an ETA is included within the standard visa process. However, there are exemptions. These include resident permit holders in the UK and Republic of Ireland passport holders.

Is an ETA required to Travel to Newcastle upon Tyne?

Yes. Most overseas visitors arriving in Newcastle upon Tyne will require an ETA for travel from 2024. Get important details on the process with this ETA FAQ.

Visiting Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne is an important English city that played a major role in the country’s defences through the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639 and 1652). Boasting Roman-era archaeology, a well-preserved Victorian city centre and a bustling renovated waterfront, Newcastle is packed with history, heritage and culture. It’s served by its own international airport and acts as a gateway to the North with its many attractions. A UK ETA for Newcastle upon Tyne will be required for overseas travellers from 2024, whether visiting for sightseeing or on business.