Visiting the UK Will Soon Require an Online Application With a Fee — What to Know

The UK's Electronic Travel Authorisation will be fully rolled out by the end of 2023.

Travelers to the United Kingdom will soon have to apply in advance and pay to enter the country when the Electronic Travel Authorisation visa waiver goes into effect later this year.

The UK’s ETA system, which will be fully rolled out by the end of 2023, will require all non-visa foreign visitors (including those from the United States) to apply online in advance of coming, according to the government’s ETA website.

The rollout of the ETA is part of the UK’s effort to fully digitize its borders by 2025.

“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,” the UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement.

To apply, travelers will need to provide personal details, passport information, and security information. Applications will then be processed automatically and travelers should expect a response typically within 48 to 72 hours.

<p>Alexander Spatari/Getty Images</p>

Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

The cost for the application was not immediately clear and was expected to be announced at a later date.

The ETA will first be rolled out to several Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and more.

The rollout of the ETA comes as Europe plans to implement its new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (or ETIAS) in November. That authorization will include a €7 fee and apply to foreign visitors 18 to 70 years old.

In the U.S., visitors must also apply for a similar authorization before coming: the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (or ESTA), which is available to travelers from countries granted a Visa Waiver Program. Last year, the fee for ESTA increased from $14 to $21, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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