Going to the UK? You will need a travel permit soon

See the new visa permit rules the United Kingdom is implementing by 2024.


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Ah, the United Kingdom. The land of tea, biscuits, and sometimes rules I don’t quite understand (I still don’t know why they drive on the left side). Since Brexit, the UK has had quite the shake-up with its border and travel rules and now they have announced the biggest border rule change in decades. 

The UK announced that travelers who currently do not require a visa to visit will now need to apply for digital pre-approval before arriving. This includes visitors from the United States, the European Union (EU), Australia, and Canada.

This means that you will need to apply and pay for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). Plans for the visa were first announced in February, but now the new rules are set to be fully rolled out by the end of 2024. So, it might be a good time to squeeze in a trip across the pond before then. 

The UK government says that the new ETA rules will strengthen border security and is not dissimilar to electronic systems used in the US and Canada. The US, for example, has the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, which costs visitors $21. This change also echoes similar regulations being put into place by the EU with the ETIAS fees they recently delayed. 

For some, the changes will help make travel smoother. For example, Qatari citizens will be among the first to use the new system and it will replace their more complicated Electronic Visa Waiver Scheme. But, the people it will affect the most are frequent travelers from Europe who currently don’t need any pre-approval to visit. 

Luckily, the applications will be available online and via an app and can be processed automatically. These changes are always a bit of a nuisance for travelers, but down the line, it could make travel easier by keeping everything digital. Pretty soon, biometric passports could get us all through security checks a whole lot faster.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

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