Is an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) a Visa?
Some people say that an ETA is not a visa. Others say it is.
Who is correct?
I am one of those that says an ETA is a visa, with a very good reason, which I will explain later.
What is a visa?
A visa is a document of some sort, either printer, stamped or electronic that permits a person to enter and stay in a country that they are not a citizen of.
What is an ETA?
An ETA is an Electronic Travel Authorisation. This is a permit, attached electronically to a person’s passport, that allows a person to enter and stay in a country that they are not a citizen of.
So, both appear very similar, they allow a person entry into a foreign country.
Why do some people say that an ETA is not a visa?
Statements like the following make it appear that an ETA is not a visa:
- ETA is a travel permission granted to foreign nationals who wish to enter an ETA implementing country without a visa.
- ETA is equivalent to a visa but requires no stamp or sticker in your passport.
My answers to the above 2 statements are:
- A Visa is a travel permission granted to foreign nationals who wish to enter another country, same as an ETA.
- Many visas, just like an ETA, require no stamp or sticker in your passport.
I once received an ETA to enter Australia. One reason that I say it is a visa, is that the ETA is described by the Australian Immigration Department as a subclass 601 visa.