Traveling to the UK just got easier and cheaper for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Jordan, thanks to the expansion of the UK ETA scheme.
As of February 22, 2024, nationals from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Jordan can now apply for the UK ETA scheme, streamlining their entry process and making their visits more affordable.
Previously, visitors from these countries required electronic visa waivers (EVWs) or single-use visitor visas, incurring fees ranging from £30 to £115. Under the new UK ETA scheme, however, the application fee is just £10, and the authorization itself allows for unlimited visits to the UK for two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first.
This move is expected to significantly boost tourism from these regions, which already contribute greatly to the UK economy. In 2022 alone, visitors from the GCC countries spent a staggering £2 million during their stays in the UK. As Patricia Yates, CEO of VisitBritain, emphasized, “This scheme will make travel to the UK cheaper, easier, and more accessible for Gulf nationals and Jordanians. Combined with our strong airline connections, the scheme boosts our competitive tourism offer and our welcome to visitors.”
The scheme is part of the government’s efforts to modernize and digitize the border and immigration system. The application process is entirely digital and can be completed via a mobile app, requiring biographic and biometric information and answers to questions regarding sustainability and criminality. Processing typically takes three working days, often receiving approval within hours.
This expansion follows the successful launch of the UK ETA scheme for Qatari nationals in October 2023. By the end of this year, the scheme is expected to encompass all foreign visitors who do not currently require a visa to enter the UK.
“The UK ETA is an important step towards our position as a leader in border innovation and security,” stated UK Home Secretary James Cleverly. “The security checks carried out pre-travel help strengthen the country’s border, prevent abuse, and enhance safety.”
This represents a win-win for both the UK and its visitors from the Gulf and Jordan. The scheme is expected to attract more visitors by simplifying travel procedures and reducing costs, boosting tourism and contributing further to the UK economy. As the scheme expands to encompass more nationalities, it promises to enhance the travel experience for all visitors to the UK.
Key points to remember:
- The UK ETA scheme now includes Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Jordan nationals.
- The application fee is £10, significantly cheaper than previous visa options.
- The UK ETA scheme allows unlimited visits to the UK for two years.
- The application process is entirely digital and can be completed via a mobile app.
- The scheme is expected to boost tourism and contribute to the UK economy.
Ready to easily explore the UK thanks to the simplified UK ETA scheme? From understanding requirements to ensuring smooth visa processing, our experienced travel and visa consultants are here to guide you every step of the way. Don’t let paperwork stress mar your adventure! Book your appointment today and turn your UK dreams into reality.