A Visa or an ETA?


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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.

But first:

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.


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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:

  1. ETA is a travel permission granted to foreign nationals who wish to enter an ETA implementing country without a visa.
  2. ETA is equivalent to a visa but requires no stamp or sticker in your passport.

My answers to the above 2 statements are:

  1. A Visa is a travel permission granted to foreign nationals who wish to enter another country, same as an ETA.
  2. 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.

 

ETA subclass 601 Visitor Visa Clarification

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