Many travelers often get confused understanding the difference between eVisa and Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). It is quite common to get confused and You are not alone!

We call eVisa and eTA are soft visa restrictions. This means you will not be able to board a plane to visit a country with just your passport without either of these to visit certain countries (eg US/Canada).

eVisa/eTA both are swift and easy to use electronic systems, almost similar but there are subtle differences and we will try to explain here.

Firstly ETA is NOT a visa. They are just authorizations required prior to travel. eVisas are like visas and you are required to apply online.

Secondly, ETA is only given to countries with Visa waiver program (VWP). So only nationals of visa waiver countries can apply for electronic travel authorizations. eVisas are different, any country national (sometimes there is a list) can apply for evisa.

The third difference is how and where you apply. ETA and eVisas both can be applied through travel agents. Watch out for the fee.

The fourth difference lies in limit and validity. eVisas are valid for 30 to 60 days and only single entry. ETA can be valid for a long time and you are permitted to travel as many times you want. For example Canadian, eTA is valid for five years or until your passport expires

The final difference is ETAs for some countries require e-passports for travel (eg US), while eVisas may or may not require ePassports depending on the country. eVisas may be used only on the certain ports of entry (only at certain airports, restricted by land or sea eg Russia eVisa). Check or read the conditions carefully.

History

ETA system commenced development in January 1996 and was implemented in Singapore on a trial basis on 11 September 1996

The eVisa program began in December 2000 after the feasibility of enabling visa applications to be lodged via the Internet. It started with universities applying for study program. Prior to the introduction of eVisa, the majority of visa applications were handled in paper form.