Amman: The British Embassy to Jordan announced that UK’s electronic travel authorisation (ETA) scheme opens for Gulf Cooperation Council and Jordanian nationals, making travel to the UK “smoother and cheaper.”
In a statement, the embassy said UK’s ETA scheme has opened for Gulf Cooperation Council and Jordanian nationals who are travelling to the UK from 22 February 2024.
The embassy added that this expansion of the scheme follows the successful launch for Qataris, who have been able to benefit since October 2023, with most applying using the UK ETA mobile app.
ETAs replace electronic visa waivers (EVW) and remove the visa requirement for short stays to the UK for Gulf and Jordanian nationals.
Nationals of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan can now make unlimited visits to the UK over a 2-year period, or until the holder’s passport expires – whichever is sooner, for just £10. Previously, Gulf nationals paid £30 through the electronic visa waiver scheme and Jord
anians paid £115 for a single-use visitor visa, according to the statement.
Gulf visitors are highly valuable to the UK economy, with almost 800,000 Gulf visitors spending £2 billion during their stays in the UK in 2022.
The ETA is part of the UK government’s transformation and digitisation of the UK border and immigration system, enabling an increasingly seamless customer experience in the future for legitimate visitors. Ensuring robust security checks on every visitor pre-travel enables us to bolster the security of the UK border, prevent abuse and keep our communities safe.
Home Secretary James Cleverly is marking the expansion of the scheme today at a celebratory event with the Gulf and Jordanian ambassadors and representatives from the travel and tourism sectors.
Cleverly said ETA will improve the experience of travelling to the UK for the thousands of visitors from the Gulf and Jordan, who represent our second largest tourism market and contribute billions to the UK economy.
The scheme is a vital s
tep on our path to cementing the UK’s position as a world leader in border innovation and security, he pointed out.
Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia Lord Ahmad said:” I am delighted that with the introduction of ETAs it will be even easier for our Gulf and Jordanian friends to visit the UK.”
Ahmad noted “Our strong people to people links underpin our close partnership, and we all benefit from the boost to trade, education and tourism ties ETAs will bring.”
He added that the application process for an ETA is simple and fast to complete, with the process being entirely digital via a mobile phone app.
He said applicants need to provide biographic and biometric details and answer questions on suitability and criminality. Once individuals have successfully applied, their ETA is digitally linked to their passport.
Decisions will usually be made within 3 working days, however the majority are decided within hours.
VisitBritain CEO, Patricia Yates, said:” It is great to see the
electronic travel authorisation scheme roll out to more Gulf nationals as well as for Jordanians, making travel to the UK easier, cheaper and more accessible for them. Combined with our strong airline connections, the scheme boosts our competitive tourism offer and our welcome to visitors.”
Yates noted : “Our GREAT Britain campaigns are underway across the region to showcase the breadth of exciting experiences and destinations to inspire travel to Britain.”
Yates noted VisitBritain is also working with travel trade and partners in the Gulf so British destinations are sold internationally and to drive bookings now. We look forward to welcoming even more visitors to experience our vibrant and dynamic tourism offer.
The scheme will apply worldwide to those who do not currently need a visa to visit or transit through the UK or who do not hold a UK immigration status, including nationals from Europe and America.
Other nationalities cannot and do not need to apply yet and timings for when the scheme opens for t
hem will be confirmed in due course.
Source: Jordan News Agency