UK Reveals £10 Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) Fees for Gulf Countries and Jordan

Published on: 07 June 2023

On Tuesday, June 6, 2023, the UK government unveiled further details regarding the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system, which is set to be gradually implemented starting in late October this year. The latest information released by the UK included the fee structure for applying for a UK Electronic Travel Authorization, which has been set at £10.

As part of the initial phase of the launching process for the UK Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) application, Qatari nationals will be able to apply for the ETA starting from October 25, 2023. By November 15, 2023, obtaining an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) will become a mandatory requirement for Qatari nationals planning to travel to the UK. The second phase, commencing on February 22, 2024, will include nationals from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Jordan. Throughout 2024, additional countries exempt from UK visas will be progressively incorporated.

The announced fee is significantly lower than the current costs borne by nationals of these countries for traveling to the UK. Gulf nationals presently pay £30 for an EVW, while Jordanians pay £100 for a regular visitor visa, both allowing a maximum stay in the UK for 6 months. In contrast, the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), costing no more than £10, will permit multiple visits to the UK within a two-year validity period.

It is important to note that many countries around the world have implemented electronic travel authorization systems for visa-exempt travelers. Australia was the pioneer, adopting this system in 1996, followed by the United States of America’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) in 2008. Canada introduced the Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization System (eTA) in 2015, and New Zealand followed suit in 2019. The European Union is also expected to introduce its own Electronic Travel Authorization System (ETIAS) in 2024 for travelers visiting the Schengen region.

Comparing the cost with other well-known eTAs, the UK eTA fee is lower than the US ESTA fee of $21 (approximately £17) for the same two-year validity period. The costs of eTAs for New Zealand and Australia are relatively close to their UK counterparts, but with a validity period of only 12 months for the Australian ETA. In contrast, an ETIAS for the Schengen area will cost €7 (about £6) and remain valid for up to 3 years. The Canadian eTA is the most affordable, priced at only 7 Canadian dollars (less than £5), and is valid for 5 years.

While announcing this information on the Electronic Travel Authorization system for the UK, the official website of the UK government quoted statements from ministers. The UK Minister of Immigration, Robert Jenrick, emphasized the significant contribution that visitors from the Gulf States and Jordan make to the UK’s tourism industry, and stated that the new ETA scheme will make it easier and cheaper for them to travel to the UK.

Lord Tariq Ahmed, UK Secretary of State for the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, expressed his delight that the Arab Gulf countries and Jordan will be the first to benefit from the UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorization scheme. He highlighted how the scheme is a testament to the strong partnership between the UK and countries across the region, stating, “By cutting costs and visa requirements, the ETA scheme will ensure visitors from the Gulf States and Jordan can enjoy travelling with ease to the UK, boosting business and tourism links between our countries.”

The UK government attaches great importance to tourists from the Gulf countries due to their significant economic impact on the country. Over the past year, more than 790,000 visitors from the Gulf region traveled to the UK, spending approximately £2 billion during their stays.

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