Will the New UK ETA for Edinburgh Affect Your Travels?

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. From its mediaeval Old Town to its modern skyline, the city has something for visitors and locals to explore. Edinburgh is home to some of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks, including Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament building. The city is also home to a number of museums and art galleries, as well as a thriving music and nightlife scene.

In 2022, the UK government announced the introduction of a new electronic visa system known as the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) programme. The ETA is designed to streamline the current visa waiver process and make it easier for visitors to obtain a permit to enter the UK. Read on as we take a closer look at the UK ETA for Edinburgh and its implications for travel to the UK, as well as briefly explore the history and origins of the city.

The History of Edinburgh

The origins

Edinburgh has a long and storied history dating back to the 7th century. In the 12th century, King David I established the town of Edinburgh, and it became a royal burgh. The town was protected by a fortress and situated below Castle Rock — an extinct volcano. By the Middle Ages, Edinburgh had become an important centre of trade and commerce. The city also played a significant role in the Scottish Wars of Independence.

In 1314, King Robert the Bruce defeated the English army at the Battle of Bannockburn, solidifying Scotland’s status as an independent nation. Due to its many contributions to art, literature and philosophy, Edinburgh has been known as the ‘Athens of the North’ since then. It also served as the capital of Scotland from 1437 until 1707, when the Act of Union was passed, making it part of the Kingdom of Great Britain. Today, Edinburg is still considered the capital of Scotland, but the new UK parliament is located in Westminster.

New Town

In the 18th century, the Old Town of Edinburgh was becoming increasingly overcrowded. At the same time, the Scottish Enlightenment was in full swing, and many leading thinkers were eager to put their ideas into practice. As a result, a number of designers came together to create the New Town of Edinburgh.

The New Town was intended to be a more spacious and orderly alternative to the Old Town, and it incorporated many of the latest ideas about urban design. The Georgian era saw a boom in construction, and the New Town quickly became a fashionable place to live for those who could afford to move out of the Old Town.

Places to visit in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle


Edinburgh Castle is one of the top tourist destinations in Scotland. It rests atop an extinct volcano and is visible from many parts of the city. The earliest known settlements on the site date back to the Iron Age, and it is believed that the castle was first built in the 12th century. For centuries, it served as a royal residence, and it was not until the 17th century that it primarily became a military barracks. Today, the castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers scenic views of the city.

National Museum of Scotland


Founded in 2006, the National Museum of Scotland spans five floors and houses an extensive collection of Scottish antiquities. Highlights include the animal exhibits, which feature a wide variety of specimens from Scotland’s native wildlife and the Eskimo section, offering a glimpse into the lifestyle of these Arctic peoples. The museum is also highly informative, with exhibits and displays that provide insights into Scottish history and culture. And to top it all off, the rooftop offers scenic views of Edinburgh’s skyline.

Palace of Holyroodhouse


The Palace of Holyroodhouse has served as a royal residence since the 16th century. Today, the palace is open to the public and houses a number of important historical artefacts, including the famous Scottish Crown Jewels. In addition to its role as a tourist attraction, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is also used for official functions, such as state banquets and ceremonies.

The Royal Mile


The Royal Mile is a series of connected streets that run from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. One of the popular attractions on the Royal Mile is the Scottish Parliament Building, which is home to the Scottish Parliament. Other notable landmarks include St. Giles Cathedral and The Canongate Kirkyard. In addition to being a historical and cultural hotspot, the Royal Mile is also home to a range of local and international shops, restaurants and cafes.

UK ETA for Edinburgh

The United Kingdom is set to implement a new electronic border control system known as the ETA programme, primarily for visitors from certain visa-free countries. Currently, foreign visitors from non-visa countries do not need a visa to enter the UK. However, this will change once the UK ETA is implemented.

The UK ETA will help border officers streamline the screening process for those visiting for short-term stays in the country. It will also allow officers to accurately track the number of foreign visitors who enter the UK each year. In addition, the ETA system will make it easier for those who wish to visit the UK on a short-term basis to apply for an entry permit.

Who needs to apply for a UK ETA for Edinburgh?

The UK ETA system is aimed at foreign travellers from visa-exempt countries. Examples of UK visa-exempt countries include Hong Kong, the United States, Singapore, Canada, Taiwan and Australia. Citizens of UK countries, such as England, Scotland and Wales, do not need to apply for the ETA. All applications should be completed before arriving at the border entry point into the UK. No exemptions will be granted to visitors who fail to have a valid ETA at the point of entry.

When applying for a UK ETA, applicants will need to provide some personal information, such as their name, date of birth and passport details. They will also need to answer some questions about their travel plans. Applicants will also need to answer security-related questions. These questions are necessary in order to ensure that all visitors pose a low risk to security in the UK. Some of the reasons why an application can be denied include having a serious criminal record or being involved in terrorism.

How long is a UK ETA for Edinburgh valid?

A UK ETA is valid for 6 months from the date it is issued. Visitors can enter the UK multiple times during this period, and existing Airside transit or Landside transit rules will not be affected by the rollout of the ETA. This means that travellers will still be able to pass through passport control without a visa if they meet the requirements of the Airside Transit Regulations or the Landside Transit Regulations.

Can travellers switch to a UK visa after entering the UK on an ETA?

The UK offers different visa and visa-free options for travellers, depending on the purpose and length of stay. For those planning a short visit, the ETA is a convenient option that allows for stays of up to 6 months. However, it is crucial to note that ETAs cannot be converted to UK visas while in the country. Those who plan to stay in the UK for longer than 6 months will need to apply for a standard visa before they travel.

How long will an ETA application process take?

The UK ETA application process will take a few days. During this time, the documents will be verified, and background checks will be performed. If there are any problems with the documents, applicants will be notified so that they can make the necessary changes. Once everything has been approved, the ETA will be issued, and the applicant will be able to travel to the UK.

Visit the UK ETA FAQ website to learn more about this travel programme.

Visiting Edinburgh

Situated on the east coast of Scotland, Edinburgh has been home to humans for over 1,000 years. The city’s rich history is evident in its architecture, with landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace providing a glimpse into the past. The UK ETA for Edinburgh means that travellers from certain countries can visit for up to 6 months without a visa. This will simplify the screening process for border control officials, enabling visitors to explore all that Edinburgh has to offer without the hassle of applying for a visa.