While eVisas and eTAs often seem identical to travelers, there is an important practical difference between the two.
- Generally, an eVisa is a paper visa process that has been moved online. These are usually a little more lengthly and take more effort to complete, but will generally result in a visa which is more or less a guarantee that you will be able to enter a country.
- eTA stands for an electronic travel authorization. These do not guarantee anything but are required in order to travel to a country. Upon landing, normal customs processes will still apply.
This can get tricky when terms such as 'visa-free travel' or 'visa waiver' are used. Travelers may take this to mean that they do not require any additional documentation to enter a country, but in reality, it may mean that they require an eTA instead of an eVisa. This can be a costly mistake as even the most simple eTAs can take up to 72 hours to process, meaning that by the time travelers become aware of the requirement it may already be too late.