Starting in 2023, the UK will require international visitors to apply for ‘permission to travel’ before entering.
The new scheme requires visitors to either apply for a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) in order to enter the UK. This system is similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization that the US implemented after the 9/11 attacks.
The ETA document, which will cost nearly $22, will detail biographic, biometric, and contact information. It also prompts visitors to answer a few ‘suitability questions’ as well. UK and Irish passport holders are exempt.
The UK will trial the system in March 2023 with visitors from Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Bahrain, but it will likely be expanded to cover the rest of the world, including the EU, by the end of 2023.
The British government is also enacting contactless border crossing in 2024 in an effort to reduce airport congestion. It will allow some passengers to enter the UK without having to show their passports to anyone. They would be able to enter the UK simply by submitting a photo of themselves to the Home Office ahead of their travel plans.