The UK government is bringing in a new travel authorisation scheme in 2023 for travellers entering the UK, which permits entry only if permission is obtained in advance.
The move is in line with the government’s hardline approach to tackling the unmanageable immigration problem and reinforcing border control, adding to advanced passenger vetting procedures.
The crisis that the government want to avoid is having to deter illegal immigrants at border points at the expense of taxpayers’ money and impose pre-checks that prevent dangerous crossings in the first place.
“Our flagship permission to travel scheme will mean that it is easier for our friends to come to and contribute to the UK, but harder for those we do not want to come here. Electronic Travel Authorisations will enable us to tackle problems upstream and we will know more about those who use the system to come here.”
The overarching objective is to digitalise and implement biometric systems at border points by 2025.
The phased ETA scheme will undergo beta testing and then prioritise citizens of Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia before being applicable to the EU and visa-exempt countries.
To obtain a ETA, non-visa individuals will be proof of a valid national biometrics passport permitting a short stay of 6 months, an email address and credit or debit card. During the application process, it will also be necessary to provide biometric and biographic information which is slowly becoming a cornerstone of travel.
More details including application fees are yet to be confirmed.