ABU DHABI, 28 June – Emiratis and nationals of other GCC countries are exempt from visa requirements to visit the United Kingdom from 2023.
The UK will remove the visa requirement for GCC nationals wishing to visit the country, making them the first countries to benefit from the UK’s new visa scheme, the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).
Travellers from GCC countries will only need to apply online to get the entry permit (ETA), the UK’s Home Office said in a statement on Monday.
ETA, a UK-entry permit document available online, allows travellers from eligible nations to visit Great Britain for several purposes without acquiring a visa.
“This move means that Gulf states will be among the first countries in the world to benefit from ETAs and visa-free travel to the UK,” British Home secretary Priti Patel has said.
“Our number one priority is the security of the UK border and by launching ETAs we can ensure that everyone wishing to travel to the UK has permission to do so in advance of travel and refuse those who pose a threat.”
The ETA scheme is a key part of the UK government’s move to have a fully digital border by the end of 2025. It will broadly apply to passengers visiting or transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays, or do not hold another UK visa, reports said.
The Home Office said that the application process is “straightforward” and that the scheme will “act as an additional security measure allowing the government to block threats from entering the UK, whilst also providing individuals with more assurance at an earlier point in time about their ability to travel.”
Once granted, an ETA is valid for multiple trips over an extended period of time.
Prior to the introduction of ETAs in 2023, travellers from the Gulf can continue to use Electronic Visa Waivers which allows individuals to complete an online waiver for each visit to the UK. — Gulf News