Citizens of all six Gulf countries will be granted entry via the ETA scheme from 2023
UK authorities have confirmed that citizens of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar will all be able to enter the UK under a new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme when it’s introduced in 2023.
This new initiative will bring entry requirements for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals in line with countries such as the US and Canada.
Commenting on the announcement, UK Home secretary Priti Patel said: “This move means that Gulf states will be among the first countries in the world to benefit from ETAs and visa-free travel to the UK.
“Our number one priority is the security of the UK border and by launching ETAs we can ensure that everyone wishing to travel to the UK has permission to do so in advance of travel and refuse those who pose a threat.”
According to a statement from the Home Office, the application process is straightforward and the scheme will act as an additional security measure, while also providing individuals with more assurance at an earlier point in time about their ability to travel. Once granted, an ETA is valid for multiple trips over an extended period of time.
Until the ETAs come into effect next year, GCC travellers can continue to use Electronic Visa Waivers that can be completed online before they enter the UK. Earlier this month, it was announced that Bahrain and Saudi Arabia would join other states with electronic visa waiver status.
The ETA initiative is a key part of the UK government’s move to have a fully digital border by 2025.
For more information, visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office