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Monday 23 January 2023

Britain planning to make life more difficult for overseas visitors


It never ceases to amaze how so many countries spend millions of dollars on enticing visitors to their shores - and then come up with ideas to make life more difficult for their guests.

Thailand recently unveiled plans to charge visitors a "welcome" fee on arrival, and now Britain is planning a new Permission to Travel scheme, which will requiring any visitors to seek advance authorisation before entering the country. 

And they will be expected to pay for privilege of filling out a form online. 

Travel Daily reports that the proposals include a new UK Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system, scheduled to roll out later this year, with all travellers required to hold digital approval to travel to the UK. 

The UK Government - and to be honest it would be hard to find a bigger collection of nitwits anywhere on the planet - says the move is in line with the approach taken by other countries including the USA (ESTA), Canada (ETA), Australia (eTA) and New Zealand (NZeTA). 

Apparently, "customers" - not visitors or guests - applying for a UK ETA will provide their biographic, biometric and contact details, and answer a short set of suitability questions. 

The majority of visitors will be expected to receive their authority within a short time of submitting their application. 

If things go well - and how often is that the case in the UK? - the online form should take under 15 minutes to complete, and most customers will receive their ETA within 48-72 hours of submitting their application. Emergencies? Not catered for, apparently.  

The UK Government said: “This will increase our knowledge about who’s seeking to come to the UK and prevent the arrival of those who present a threat.”

It won't, of course, anyone presenting a serious threat would be smart enough to find a way to enter the UK without crossing a border. 

Britain is surrounded by water and sea arrivals in small ports are ludicrously easy. 

“Instead of turning people away at our border or detaining them at a cost to the taxpayer, this approach will allow us to stop people travelling to the UK in the first place,” a briefing paper said. 

Sorry while we snigger. 

The cost of a UK ETA has not yet been revealed, but it has been stated that applicants will need an email address and a credit or debit card to apply. Tough luck if you don't have one. 

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