Electronic UK visa waiver program likely to be extended: What travellers need to know
Whether you’re a Brit or a traveller coming to visit the UK, the effects of Brexit have been felt across the world. Naturally, this means that there are big changes coming to the UK tourist visa as the United Kingdom scrambles to facilitate new visa-free agreements.
What will the future of travel to the United Kingdom look like, especially for the UK electronic visa waiver program and future extensions? Let’s find out.
What is the UK electronic visa waiver program?
The UK electronic visa waiver program, also known by its abbreviation (EVW), allows citizens from specific countries to enter the United Kingdom.
The EVW is a single-entry visa waiver, which means travellers will need to obtain a separate EVW each time they wish to go to the UK. Likewise, it can be used for both tourism and business purposes.
At the moment, the EVW is only available to citizens that hold a passport from Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman, although there are talks of expanding the program to include more countries in the future.
The future of the UK visa waiver program
After the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union at the end of January 2020, many questions were raised about visa-free travel, new passport controls, and the future of travel to the UK.
Following Brexit, MP Michael Gove noted that the UK will “seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to transform our borders, making them smarter and more secure”. The government notes that this reform will create more resilient, robust, yet user-friendly borders.
One of the biggest take aways is that the visa waiver program is expected to roll out to citizens of the EU who wish to travel to the United Kingdom for the purposes of tourism or business on a short-term basis. Thanks to the expansion of the visa waiver program, eligible travellers will not need to apply for a traditional visa before going to the UK.
Top places to visit in the UK with a visa waiver
Being approved for a UK visa waiver opens up a world of possibilities: There are now thousands, if not millions, of places that are begging to be explored in the beautiful UK.
The United Kingdom is made up of four constituent countries that include England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland — which means there are plenty of interesting and wander-worthy places to add to one’s itinerary. Let’s take a look at some of the best sites to visit in the United Kingdom:
England: The fairy tale villages in the Cotswolds
For a quintessentially English experience, look no further than a trip to the Cotswolds. Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966, the “wolds” are a series of villages located in southwest England that are famed for their rolling hills, swoon-worthy views, and dreamy atmosphere.
Although there are dozens of villages scattered across 800 square miles, some of the most popular include Bourton-on-the-Water, which is commonly referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’; Castle Combe, a popular village for movie backdrops; and Stow-on-the-Wold, which has a charming old town and plenty of antique shops to browse.
Scotland: Skiing and hiking in the Highlands
Whether it’s hiking in the summer or skiing in the winter, the UK makes for the perfect destination year-round. For those who love the snow, there’s no better place to go than the Highlands.
Cairngorm is the most visited ski resort in all of Scotland, while there are four other ski resorts in Scotland and plenty of back country options.
When the snow goes you can walk, climb, cycle, mountain bike, canoe, kayak, stand-up paddle board and more.
Northern Ireland: Giant’s Causeway
Although Northern Ireland has only one UNESCO world heritage site, they chose the best of the best. Giant’s Causeway is an area that contains 40,000 basalt columns and is truly a magnificent feat of nature. Intrepid adventurers can hike along the upper cliffs and enjoy a panoramic view of the coast, or simply learn more about the causeway at the visitors centre.
Wales: The colourful village of Aberaeron
Thanks to its stunning nature and awe-inspiring coastlines, Wales is quickly becoming an iconic place to visit in Europe. From the serene lakes and jagged mountains in Snowdonia National Park to the Italian-inspired town of Portmeirion, there are dozens of places to visit in this fantastic country.
However, one of the most popular places in Wales is the colourful and cheerful seaside village of Aberaeron. The village is an ideal choice for anyone who wants some peace and quiet as they enjoy a stroll near the sea, chill out on the beach, or taste a hearty plate of fresh seafood.