The UK’s New ETA System: A Global Change, Not Just Caribbean CBI Programs

The travel landscape is ever-evolving, and with changes often come opportunities. As a company committed to helping you unlock global mobility through citizenship by investment, we strive to keep you informed about key changes in international travel policies. Today, we highlight the UK’s updated travel requirements, which feature the introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).

Effective from 15 November 2023, the United Kingdom has introduced enhancing its border security with the implementation of the ETA. But rest assured, this development does not limit your global mobility options; instead, it aims to streamline entry procedures, boost security, and enhance the UK’s capability to manage its borders more efficiently.

All About The ETA

Regardless of previous visa-free agreements, all non-British and Irish travellers, including children, entering or transiting through the UK will require an ETA, except those already legally resident in the country. The ETA allows you to stay in the UK for up to six months for various reasons such as:

  • Tourism
  • Visiting family and friends
  • Business
  • Short-term study
  • Transiting through the UK.

Remember, you should apply online for your ETA before booking any travel to the UK. Once granted, the ETA is valid for multiple journeys over two years, or until the passport you applied with expires – whichever is sooner.

While the ETA is linked digitally to your passport, it may be beneficial to print the confirmation email for your records. The ETA serves as permission to travel to the UK, however, ensure your passport is valid for the duration of your stay as they work together to grant you entry.

Global Trend: Schengen ETIAS, USA ETAS & Canada ETA

The move towards implementing ETA systems is not unique to the UK. Several nations around the globe, including the USA, Canada, and the EU, have already launched similar travel authorization systems.

Schengen ETIAS

The European Union introduced the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) to enhance the security within the Schengen Zone, a free-travel area that spans 26 countries. This fully electronic system, projected to be fully operational by 2024, will conduct comprehensive security checks on each applicant from visa-free countries, ensuring they pose no security threat.


Similarly, the United States implemented the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) as part of its Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Established in 2008, ESTA aims to facilitate travel to the U.S. by citizens of VWP countries while enhancing the security of U.S. borders.

Canada ETA

In 2016, Canada also established its own Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system. This automated system screens visa-exempt foreign nationals before they travel to Canada by air, ensuring they do not pose any security risk.

The UK’s move to introduce the ETA system is part of a wider global trend towards utilising advanced technology for security purposes and efficient management of international travel as well as generate income towards the country.

These systems share a common goal: to make travel safer, more efficient, and more secure for all. It’s a collective step towards better travel management, not a targeted action towards any specific country or program.

Who Will Need an ETA?

Initially, from 15 November 2023, Qatar nationals will be required to apply for an ETA, with the application process opening on 25 October 2023. From 22 February 2024, this requirement will extend to include nationals from:

  • Bahrain
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates

With more nationalities to be added later.

Who Will Not Require an ETA?

You won’t need an ETA if you:

  • Hold a British or Irish passport
  • Have permission to live, work, or study in the UK
  • Already hold a valid visa for the UK
  • Are a legal resident of Ireland when entering the UK from Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man

Applying For An ETA

Applying for an ETA is a straightforward process. You can either apply via the UK ETA app or online on the UK government website ( 

As per the government website, the decision typically comes within three working days. The application fee is £10 (Approximately $12 USD) per applicant.


As we adapt to this new travel era, remember that the UK’s ETA isn’t aimed at limiting specific regions like the Caribbean CBI. It’s a broad-sweeping move already implemented by other leading nations such as the USA, Canada and soon to be implemented by the EU, aimed at enhancing the overall travel experience and generating revenue for the countries.

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