The United Kingdom has announced that it will soon be charging travelers under the new Electronic Travel Authorization scheme (ETA) as part screening, visibility and security efforts.
More specifically, visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to or transiting to a country the UK will be required to pay 10 pounds once the program goes into effect later this year.
The ETA is much like the ESTA system which applies to non-visa travelers entering the US.
ETA is set to launch in October for incoming travelers from Qatar and will be extended to the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Jordan in February 2024 before applying to all countries in 2024.
The levy will apply to travelers from the US and EU countries with the exception of Ireland.
Currently in the EU, a similar program, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is in the pipeline set to be launched by next year.
Once the British system goes into effect, travelers will have to apply for an ETA online or through a mobile app. If approved, the ETA will enable the person to visit the UK multiple times for a two-year period. Applicants will be required to provide personal and biometric details including a digital photograph and answer a “set of suitability questions”.
The UK government said the ETA system is aimed at “further enhancing border security and the customer experience”.
“The cost of an ETA will be one of the best value in the world compared to similar international schemes. This small additional cost to visitors will enable us to bolster the security of the UK border and keep our communities safe,” said UK Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick.
Indicatively, the cost of applying for a US two-year ESTA is 21 dollars while the EU is expected to charge 7 euros for a three-year ETIAS. Other countries charging tourists on entry or departure include New Zealand (about 22 dollars), Japan (7 dollars), Bali, Indonesia (10 dollars), and France (5.71 dollars per day).