The scheme will first launch for Qatari’s in October whereas the rest of the GCC and Jordan will benefit from it in February 2024.
Visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Jordan will soon only be required to pay £10 (QAR 45) under the United Kingdom’s new Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme (ETA), London’s Home Office announced on Tuesday.
In a statement, the UK government said the ETA will allow them to visit multiple times over a two-year period. The new amount is reduced from the initial £30 (QAR 135) per visit for GCC nationals and £100 (around QAR 452) for Jordanians to obtain a visit visa.
“Visitors from the Gulf states and Jordan make a huge contribution to the UK’s tourism industry and the new ETA scheme will make it easier and cheaper for them to travel to the UK,” Robert Jenrick, the UK’s Immigration Minister, said.
Jenrick added that the new cost “will be one of the best values in the world compared to similar international schemes.”
The ETA will first launch for Qataris in October whereas the rest of the GCC and Jordan will benefit from it in February 2024 before its global expansion during the same year.
“I’m delighted that our partners across the Gulf and Jordan will be the first to benefit from the UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme. This scheme is further proof of the strong partnership between the UK and countries across the region,” Lord Ahmad, London’s Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, said.
The UK government announced the new ETA scheme earlier this year under what it said is “a digitisation” of the country’s border by 2025.
The digital permit would be granted for those visiting or transiting through the UK “who do not need a visa for short stays”. The same applies for those who do not hold another UK visa.
Under the ETA, GCC citizens and Jordanians will have the same travel requirements as those from the United States and Australia.
The statement noted that the process will be “simple and fast” and can be done via a mobile phone app. Applicants are required to provide biographic and biometric details, such as a digital photograph.
“Gulf visitors are highly valuable to the UK economy, with over 790,000 Gulf visitors spending £2 billion during their stays in the UK last year,” the statement read.