Starting from November 15, 2023, a significant travel requirement shift will impact Nigerians and other travellers heading to the United Kingdom (UK). This change revolves around the introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), which will be mandatory for all visa applicants wishing to travel to the UK. Here’s what you need to know about this transformation in travel regulations:
Who Needs an ETA?
- Everyone, including children, who intend to enter or transit through the UK, except for British and Irish citizens, will require an ETA.
- Those previously eligible to visit the UK without a visa and not already legally residing in the UK.
- Visitors with travel purposes that include stays shorter than six months, business trips, tourism, and visits to family and friends.
- Applicants must apply for the ETA online before making travel arrangements to the UK.
- Once granted, the ETA will be valid for multiple journeys over a span of two years or until the expiration date of the passport used during application, whichever occurs earlier.
ETA and Passport Control:
- Travellers with valid visas may be denied boarding without a valid ETA because the ETA is digitally linked to travellers’ passports.
- While the ETA grants permission to travel to the UK, it does not automatically grant entry. Travellers must still go through passport control at the UK border.
- It’s essential to present the same passport used for the ETA application, and this passport should remain valid for the entire duration of the stay.
The UK Home Office has emphasized these changes, stating:
“The UK travel requirements are changing. Except for British and Irish citizens, everyone, including children who enter or transit through the UK, will soon require permission before they travel.
This means that if you were previously eligible to visit the UK without a visa and not already legally resident in the UK, you will need an electronic travel authorisation (ETA), your stay must be shorter than six months and could include tourism or visiting family and friends, transit, business, and short term study.
You do not need to show a paper copy, but it may be helpful to prove the confirmation email for your own records while an ETA grants you permission to travel to the UK, it does not grant you entry. So, you would still need to go through passport control at the border to enter the UK.
Make sure you show the same passport you used to apply for your ETA and that your passport is valid for the whole of your stay.”
This change in travel requirements emphasizes the need for thorough preparation and compliance for anyone planning to visit the UK from Nigeria or other countries impacted by this new rule. Travellers should be aware of these changes and ensure that they obtain the necessary ETA well in advance to avoid disruptions to their travel plans.