UK Launches Electronic Travel Authorization Scheme for Qatari Nationals

The government of the United Kingdom has introduced an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme for Qatari nationals, requiring them to obtain authorization before traveling to the UK. This move aims to advance digitalization in travel and border controls.

For other Gulf nations, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, nationals will need travel authorization starting from February 22, 2024. The application process for their ETA will commence on February 1st of the next year.

According to an official statement, Qatari citizens have been able to apply for their authorization since October 25th, primarily using a mobile app.

The ETAs will replace the current Electronic Visa Waivers (EVW) for most Gulf nationals, offering more significant benefits, such as unlimited visits to the UK over two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. Priced at £10, this new system eliminates the visa requirement for short visits to the UK for citizens from the Gulf region and Jordan.

In expressing the significance of this initiative, Ambassador to the State of Qatar, Jon Wilks CMG, stated, “I am delighted to announce the official opening of the electronic travel authorization scheme for Qatari nationals, who will be the first in the world to benefit from the scheme.”

Wilks added, “This initiative not only simplifies the travel process for Qataris visiting the UK but also reflects the strength of our bilateral relationship. We look forward to welcoming more visitors from Qatar, further building the human bridge between our two countries.”

To obtain an ETA, individuals must provide personal and biometric details and respond to inquiries regarding suitability and criminal background. This ensures that criminals are not granted entry into the UK. Once approved, the ETA is digitally linked to the applicant’s passport.

While the standard processing time for applications is three working days, the majority of applicants have received decisions within hours.

Official statistics report that the UK welcomed almost 800,000 visitors from the Gulf last year, with 45,000 of them coming from Qatar.

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