The UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme will cost visitors to the country £10 when it starts rolling out later this year.
ETA, which will operate in a similar way to the existing ESTA system for visitors without a visa to the United States, will launch in October for visitors from Qatar.
The UK system will then be extended to the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Jordan in February 2024 before expanding worldwide throughout 2024, including includes travelers from the United States and European Union countries, excluding Ireland.
A traveler will apply for an ETA online or through a mobile app and once granted, he or she will be allowed to visit the UK multiple times over a two-year period. Applicants will have to provide personal and biometric information including digital photos and answer a “fitness questionnaire”.
The EU has its own new system, called ETIAS, which is also in the works, although the introduction of the system has been delayed until 2024.
The UK government says the ETA system has formed part of the country’s border digitization process to “further enhance border security and customer experience”.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said: “Visitors from Gulf countries and Jordan make a huge contribution to the UK tourism industry and the new ETA scheme will make it easier and cheaper for them to come to the UK.
“The cost of an ETA would be one of the best in the world compared to similar international shows. This small additional cost to visitors will allow us to strengthen UK border security and keep our communities safe.”
For comparison, the US ESTA registration cost is currently $21 and remains valid for two years. The EU will charge a fee of just €7 for ETIAS, which can be used for up to three years.
Joss Croft OBE, CEO of UKinbound, said: “The UK has been at the bottom of the table for international price competitiveness due to a wide range of taxes and costs such as high VAT rates on hotels, The passenger tax is not too high and the tax elimination -free shopping.
“Unfortunately, charging visitor fees on arrival in the UK will only exacerbate this situation and potentially act as an additional barrier to an increase in international visitors to the UK. Older brother.”