Immigration Corner: What is an electronic visa waiver?
Dear Mr Bassie,
I often travel to the United Kingdom and I have heard that it may be possible to obtain an electronic visa waiver for certain types of visits. I am hoping that you can tell me more about this option.
You did not indicate where you are travelling from, the frequency and the reason for you travelling to the United Kingdom. However, I will still attempt to answer the general query.
Persons can obtain an electronic visa waiver (EVW) to enter the United Kingdom without cost, instead of a visa, if they are holders of passports from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates.
An EVW allows a person to visit the United Kingdom for up to six months for tourism, business, study or medical treatment. If a person is visiting for another reason, he/she must apply between three months and 48 hours before travelling there.
In order to apply, persons will need a current passport; an address in the United Kingdom where they will stay; and details of their journey, including departure and arrival dates and times.
The application must be made online and when applying, persons must enter their personal details so they match their passport exactly. This includes any punctuation, for example, spaces, hyphens, apostrophes or full stops. Persons' travel details must also be exactly right as they will not be allowed to travel if personal or travel details are wrong.
It should also be noted that each person travelling needs their own EVW, including children. If someone applies on behalf of another, he/she must enter their own contact details as well as the applicant's.
After completing and submitting the application, the applicant will get an email within 24 hours with a link to download your EVW, if successful. The person must then print out the EVW and show it on departure and arrival. The person cannot show an electronic copy of the EVW, for example, on a phone or tablet.
It should also be stated that the holder of an EVW will not be allowed to work in the United Kingdom, get married or register a civil partnership, and the EVW will only allow a person to enter the United Kingdom once. A person will need another EVW or a visa if he/she would like to enter on another occasion.
In the event that a person's travel plans change or he/she misses her transport, then he/she must change travel details on the EVW if he/she will leave from or arrive at a different airport, port or train station than planned; and/or arrive in the United Kingdom more than eight hours later than planned. The confirmation email received will indicate the procedure on how to change travel details.
- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org