The UK has announced a new Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme that will make it easier for citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Jordan to travel to the UK.
The ETA scheme allows travelers digital permission to visit or transit through the UK for short stays without a visa. GCC citizens and Jordanians will pay only $12.44 for a two-year multiple-entry visa, making their travel to the UK more affordable. The new system will be implemented for Qatari nationals in October 2023 and for the rest of the GCC countries and Jordan in February 2024.
The UK government aims to bring the requirements for GCC and Jordanian visitors to the UK in line with those for visitors from the US and Australia.
The UK Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick, said that the ETA scheme would make it easier and cheaper for GCC citizens and Jordanians to visit the UK while bolstering the security of the UK border and keeping communities safe. Visitors can apply for an ETA using a mobile phone application and providing biographic and biometric details, such as a digital photograph, and answering a set of suitability questions.
The UK Home Office reported that 790,000 visitors from GCC countries spent $2.5 billion during their stay in the UK in 2022. The ETA scheme is part of the UK’s efforts to strengthen its partnership with countries across the region.
Moreover, the UK Business Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, recently visited the Gulf to discuss a post-Brexit trade deal with GCC counterparts.
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