As part of the UK’s effort to fully digitize borders by 2025, tourists will soon be required to obtain a new electronic travel authorization to enter the country. This requirement applies to all visitors, including Malaysians and Singaporeans who can travel there visa-free.
As of January, the UK government has not announced a release date for the online application process. It previously said the ETA system would be fully operational by the end of 2023 and planned to release the permits earlier this year.
“Once the ETA is in place, all international travellers will need the authorisation to enter or transit the UK,” the government said. “This includes visa-free nationalities who require an ETA,” as well as those travelling to the UK for tourism, business, short-term education and medical reasons.
If you fall into one of these categories, you must apply online at any time before you leave for the UK. This process should only take a few minutes. To apply, you will need a valid national biometric passport from an eligible country, travel details, email address and a credit or debit card.
“Before you apply for a permit, be sure to check that you have provided all the required information correctly,” the government warns. “Errors could result in delays in processing or even rejection of your ETA.”
Applications should be processed within 48 to 72 hours. ETAs are valid for visa-free travel for up to 180 days or six months in the UK, or with a two-year visa.
“The ETA is not a visa,” the government said. “Europeans and travellers from countries like the US and Canada will retain their visa-free status but require an ETA to cross the UK border.”
We will update this article once the permit comes into force, so keep your eyes peeled!