ETA stands for Electronic Travel Authority. ETA visas are what Australia and India calls their online visas or e-visas. E-visas have been around for years now, and they’re becoming more and more popular.
Australia has used ETA visas for several years to process and distribute online visas to people visiting Australia, including Americans. The ETA visa has a validity of 12 months from the date of issue and can be used for multiple trips to Australia, each lasting up to three months. The visa is stored electronically without any need for a stamp or label being placed in your passport.
Like Australia, many other countries have recognized the advantages of e-visas. Distributing visas to travelers via the Internet is a simple and effective way to both collect visa payments and avoid long wait times at international airports. Rather than issuing visas to travelers as they arrive at customs, which has been the habit of a variety of countries, using an e-visa system helps countries keep better data on how many people will be visiting their country at any given time.
E-visas are also preferred by travelers. They help reduce wait times at customs and reduce any anxiety about whether or not you’ll be able to obtain a visa once you arrive in the country. Plus, e-visas are much simpler and easier to apply for than paper visas which must still be obtained through consulates.
Countries who currently issue e-visas include Turkey, Sri Lanka, India (for tourist purposes), Australia, Myanmar, Senegal, Bahrain, and Cambodia.
How Do I get an ETA Visa?
Steps to obtain an e-visa varies from country to country. Each country that issues e-visas has its own website set up for visitors to complete their applications and submit payments. In most cases, the fee for an e-visa is somewhere in the $20 range, substantially less than traditional paper visas.
Of course, some country’s websites are better than others, so you’ll want to apply for your e-visa early to ensure that you are able to use the website appropriately, figure out the application process, and make sure that your payment goes through. We have heard stories of some people being unable to use their credit cards to purchase e-visas. If that happens to you, give us a call and we can help you through your application process.
If you’re not sure if the country that you’re traveling to offers an e-visa, check out our handy e-visa portal. It provides up-to-date information about the visa requirements for virtually every country in the world and allows you to apply for visas through our website. If you have any questions about obtaining an expedited e-visa, submitting your application, or anything else, simply give the Swift team a call at (877) 917-9438.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.