eTA vs eVisa: Understanding their differences

by Pilar Dujan | September 11, 2023
Passport and visa

When traveling internationally, it’s likely that you will need to have some kind of documentation to be allowed entry in your destination. Two of the most common authorisations for traveling are eTAs and eVisas.

What is an eTA? What’s an eVisa? What are their differences? Find out here.

What does eTA mean?

The eTA’s meaning is electronic travel authorization. As you can see from the eTA’s definition, it’s not a visa.

An eTA allows you to visit a country for tourism without having the need to apply for a visa, but only if your nationality is part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

If you can apply for an eTA instead of a visa, you should. Applying for an eTA means that you don’t have to go to an Embassy or consulate, it’s a much faster and easier process done entirely online.

What does eVisa stand for?

The eVisa stands for Electronic visa. It’s a type of travel visa that is applied for and processed online.

Not all countries have the system in place, you will have to check the requirements for your destination of choice.

The main perk of applying for an eVisa is that it’s easier and faster than the process for an in-person visa.

Visa application

When is an eTA necessary instead of an eVisa?

It will depend on the destination country’s travel requirements. Some ask only for an eTA, others for an eVisa. The reason for traveling may also affect the type of visa you will need to apply for.

If your nationality is not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for your destination of choice, then you will need to apply for a visa. It can be an eVisa when allowed to.

eTA vs eVisa: their differences

The most important difference is that an eTA is not a visa, where an eVisa is an electronic visa. You can only apply for an eTA if you’re part of the Visa Waiver Program because of your nationality.

If a country asks for all its visitors to have travel visas, then you will need to apply for an eVisa (when eligible).

They also have differences in validity: an eTa can be valid for long periods of time and they tend to allow multiple entries to a country. However, an eVisa is usually valid for up to 60 days. It usually allows only single-entry.

How to apply for an eTA or eVisa

Even though the application process can differ according to the type of visa and the issuing country, it usually involves the following steps:

  • Completing an application form with personal and travel information. If you apply through, you will be able to fill out the form in your own language instead of the destination country’s.
  • Paying the fees with a credit or debit card.

Keep in mind that you will need to have a valid passport if you apply for an eTA or eVisa. It’s usually asked for it to have a validity of at least 6 months from the start of the trip.