The United Kingdom government is poised to suspend the visa-free waiver agreement with Dominica this July, thereby requiring its nationals to apply for a visa for travel to the UK. Following this, the UK plans to annul the visa-free agreement with St Lucia in August and subsequently with Grenada in September. In a similar vein, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and St Kitts and Nevis will face the same action in October, November, and December respectively.
The step has come into effect as the first step of the launch of the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) and it is expected that in December 2023, the UK government would announce these countries under ETA.
As per the reports, the visa-waiver agreement with Caribbean nations offering Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) will be sequentially suspended in phases. The visa-free travel agreements with other OECS or additional Caribbean nations are likely to be suspended in coming months.
Associates Times – A Miami-based news website asserted that the UK also plans to add these Caribbean countries into the ETA system by the end of 2023.
The news organization reported that these nations will become part of the UK’s modernized immigration framework with their incorporation into the ETA system.
The step has come into effect to strengthen national security and streamline procedures. Associates Times said that the UK government had adopted the strategy employed by Canada.
Earlier in 2017, Canada also rescinded the visa-free waiver agreements with countries that are part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in two distinct phases.
In order to bolster national security, Canada took a significant step to improve its immigration framework, turning into a big success. It is mentioned that the UK is following the footstep of the country with the implementation of its own Electronic Travel Authorisation system.
Canada has implemented the step in two waves. With the first wave, Canada suspended visa-free travel for Antigua and Barbuda on June 27, 2017. In the second wave, the countries within the OCES, such as Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia, also experienced the suspension of the agreement.
Without explaining the reasons behind the suspension, it was expected that the decision was made to strengthen its immigration process. As per the reports, Canada reintroduced visa-free travel to eligible travellers from 13 new countries on June 2023. These countries included OECS countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and others. Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia who have previously held a Canadian visitor visa within the last 10 years or currently hold a valid United States nonimmigrant visa may be eligible to apply for an ETA instead of a visa.
The ETA was introduced by the UK on Tuesday, which requires people travelling to the UK without a visa to require an electronic document. It allows individuals to enter and stay in a country for a specific period of time.
To get an ETA, an individual typically needs to fill out an online application form with personal information, such as their name, passport details, and purpose of travel.