By the end of 2024, people travelling to the UK without a visa will be required to get an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA). This will give you permission to travel to the UK, and it is electronically linked to your passport.
If you’re travelling to Northern Ireland for the first time, we’re on hand to answer all your questions on who is eligible and how to apply for the new ETA scheme.
What is an Electric Travel Authorisation?
The Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is a new requirement that grants permission to travel to the UK with the exception of British and Irish citizens. Everyone including children who enters or transits through the UK must apply. To help you plan your future trip to Northern Ireland, watch the UK Government’s video overview of the scheme and who will need one.
Who will need an ETA?
You’ll need an ETA if you are:
- Visiting the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, visiting family and friends, business or study
- Visiting the UK for up to 3 months on the Creative Worker visa concession
- Transiting through a UK airport – including if you’re not going through UK border control
From 15 November 2023, you’ll need an ETA if you’re travelling to the UK and if you’re a citizen of Qatar. You’ll be able to apply from 25 October 2023. From 22 February 2024, you’ll need an ETA if you’re travelling to the UK and you’re a citizen of:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
*More nationalities will be added to the scheme at a later date.
Who will not need an ETA?
You will not need an ETA if you have either:
- A British or Irish passport
- Permission to live, work or study in the UK
- A visa to enter the UK
Is the ETA a visa to enter the UK?
No, the ETA is not a visa. All other entry requirements into the UK will remain unchanged.
When will the ETA scheme be implemented?
The ETA scheme will gradually roll out in November 2023, on a nationality basis, over the next two years. The UK Government will provide further details of which countries will be rolled out next in due course.
Get more information and regular updates from the UK Government
How do I apply for an ETA?
You can apply on the UK ETA app, or online at GOV.UK. Each traveller must get their own ETA, including children and babies, and you can apply on the behalf of others. You’ll normally find out within 3 working days on whether your application is successful.
Please note, applications may take longer if further checks are needed.
How much will an ETA cost?
An ETA will cost £10 per person.
How will I receive my ETA?
You’ll get an email confirmation if your application has been approved and your ETA will be linked electronically to the passport you applied with. You must use the same passport to travel.
When does my ETA expire?
Your ETA will last for two years. It will allow multiple journeys to the UK and will be valid for two years or until your passport expires – whichever is sooner.
What if I’m refused an ETA?
You’ll need to apply for either a:
- Standard Visitor visa to visit the UK
- Temporary Work – Creative Worker visa to come to the UK as a creative worker
- Transit visa to transit through the UK
What if I’m arriving into Dublin, and then travelling to Belfast / Northern Ireland?
There will be no immigration controls on the Ireland-Northern Ireland land border. All individuals arriving in the UK, including those crossing the land border into Northern Ireland, continue to need to enter in line with the UK’s immigration framework, including the need to obtain an ETA once required.