EXPLAINER: What Nigerians need to know about UK’s new electronic travel authorisation - THE CABLE
SEPTEMBER 07, 2023
The United Kingdom (UK) is introducing a new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for people visiting or transiting through the country from November 15, 2023.
The first thing Nigerians need to know about this policy is that it would largely not affect them — except they are not travelling with the green passport.
According to the UK Home Office, “an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) will soon be a requirement for people who do not need a visa to come to the UK. It will give you permission to travel to the UK, and it will be electronically linked to your passport.”
Nigerians, who travel with passports from any of the following countries, will need an ETA to enter or transit through the UK: Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
Who needs ETA?
According to the UK government, you need the ETA if you’re from Qatar Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
For Qataris, you will need the ETA from November 15, 2023. For other countries on the list, you will need an ETA if you’re travelling to the UK on or after February 22, 2024.
“More nationalities will be added to the scheme later,” the government said in its advisory.
Who will not need ETA?
You will not need an ETA if you have a British or Irish passport, or you already have permission to live, work or study in the UK. If you already have an existing visa to enter the UK, you will also not need ETA.
This means Nigerians who have visas to work or study in the UK do not need ETA.
Do I need ETA everytime I travel to UK?
No, your ETA will last for 2 years. If your passport expires in less than 2 years, you’ll need to get a new ETA.
You can use it to make multiple visits to the UK. You still need to either use an ePassport gate if you’re eligible or see a Border Force officer to enter the UK.
An ETA does not guarantee entry to the UK.
How much does it cost?
An ETA will cost £10 or N9,546 per applicant, according to Oanda exchange rates, which the UK government uses. If your application is approved, you will get an email confirmation.
How do I apply for ETA?
If you need ETA, you can apply on the UK ETA app, or online on GOV.UK. You can also apply on behalf of others, including children and babies.
The UK government says “you’ll usually get a decision within 3 working days, but you may get a quicker decision,” but adds the caveat that “it may take longer than 3 working days if we need to make further checks”.
If you’re refused an ETA, what next?
If you are denied ETA, it means you need a visa; this could be a standard visitor visa, a creative worker visa, or a transit visa, if you have no plans to enter the UK.
You can get more information about ETA in the video below: