Residents of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and Jordan are eligible to receive a two-year Electronic Travel Authorization for a fee of $12.
Major visa change
On the website of the UK government, it was declared that individuals from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations and Jordan will soon only need to pay £10 to request an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) that enables them to visit the UK several times within two years.
In contrast, Gulf nationals presently spend £30 for every trip to the UK through the Electronic Visa Wavier (EVW) program, while those from Jordan pay £100 for a visit visa.
The plan will start in October 2023 for citizens of Qatar, and in February 2024 for other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council and Jordan. This is in preparation for a global extension that will occur in 2024.
At the beginning of this year, the government of the United Kingdom made public its proposal to launch a fresh ETA system, which forms a section of the UK border’s digitization to raise both border security and customer satisfaction by 2025.
An ETA refers to an electronic authorization to travel granted to individuals visiting or passing through the United Kingdom for a short period or those who don’t have any other valid UK visa.
Robert Jenrick, the Immigration Minister, expressed that tourists from Jordan and the Gulf states greatly contribute to the UK’s tourism sector. He added that the newly implemented ETA scheme aims to simplify traveling to the UK for them while cutting expenses.
Comparing to other global schemes, the cost of an ETA is relatively inexpensive and offers excellent value. This minor increase to the visitors’ expenses will aid in reinforcing the safety of the UK border and ensuring the safety of our communities.
Lord Ahmad, who holds the position of Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, expressed satisfaction with the launch of the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme, which is set to benefit our allies in the Gulf region and Jordan before anyone else.
This plan is additional evidence of the robust collaboration between the United Kingdom and nations within the area.
The ETA scheme will make it easier and more convenient for travelers from the Gulf states and Jordan to visit the UK by reducing expenses and visa requirements. This will promote stronger commercial and tourism ties between our nations.
Last year, Gulf visitors spent a total of £2bn ($2.5bn) during their stays in the United Kingdom, making them extremely important to the UK economy. More than 790,000 Gulf visitors were responsible for this significant contribution.
The ETA scheme’s implementation results in the elimination of the visa obligation for people from GCC states and Jordan. Consequently, their visitation prerequisites will be equivalent to that of other travelers like Australians and Americans.
It will be easy and quick to apply for an ETA, which will be done entirely through a mobile phone app.