The electronic visa (eVisa) and the electronic travel authorization (eTA) digital options are not the same but offer the quickest and most convenient way to gain entry into a foreign country. Particularly, the difference is in regard to your nationality and travel purpose. This begs the common question among travelers whether to apply for an eVisa, eTA, or both. Read on to unwind from the confusion.
A majority of international travelers require a visa to enter a foreign country. Common visa types include student, resident, and tourist visas. The eVisa is a visa that you acquire online through the embassy or consulate website. You won’t have to commute to the consulate this time, but you’ll still need to fill in the online form and provide scanned copy documents with accurate biometric information. Most countries require eVisa applicants to download and print the eVisa upon approval and present it to the immigration officers at the point of entry. Countries participating in visa waiver programs (VWP) allow visa-free visits for their citizens. It means that visa-exempt nationals won’t have to undergo the exhaustive screening and visa application process to gain entry to a VWP country.
With the increased risks that travelers pose worldwide, most VWP-participating countries now require a basic pre-screening of visa-exempt nationals, mainly for security reasons. The electronic travel permit/authorization involves a quick background check before granting entry to visa-exempt citizens. eTA application process is entirely online, and you only need your passport information. Typically, the eTA is processed quickly and linked to your e-passport upon approval.
It depends on 2 factors; your nationality and the purpose of travel.
You should only consider eTA if you are an eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country. However, you don’t need the eTA if you already have a visa to your destination country. Citizens of a non-participating country are ineligible to apply for an eTA and must apply for a regular visitor visa at an embassy, consulate, or online. If you are an eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country, you can use either a visa or eTA for brief tourism or leisure visits to a participating country. Other visit purposes such as relocation or work may require a visa application.
eTA’s quick process makes it the favorite among nationals of a Visa Waiver Program country. It’s also important to note that not all destinations offer the eTA or the eVisa. It really comes down to the country’s entry policy and what they have available for you. For example, Canada has an eTA available for travelers wanting to visit the country for tourism. Again, you have to be from an eligible country to get the Canada eTA. India is offering eVisa to 100+ countries. Both ultimately serve the same purpose but with a different process.