The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) and the Visa are two different travel documents that allow individuals to enter Canada for different purposes. While the ETA is a pre-approval system that allows eligible travelers to visit Canada for tourism or business purposes, a visa is a more traditional travel document that is required for individuals who want to work, study, or immigrate to Canada.
In this article, we will explore the differences between the ETA and the visa for Canada in more detail.
Electronic Travel Authorization vs. Visa – Major Differences
Here're some major differences between both these travel documents:
Differences in Eligibility Requirements
One of the main differences between the ETA and the visa is the eligibility requirements for each document. The ETA is available to citizens of visa-exempt countries who are traveling to Canada for tourism or business purposes and who meet certain requirements. In order to be eligible for an ETA, individuals must have a valid passport from an ETA-eligible country, a valid credit card to pay the ETA processing fee, and an email address to receive the ETA confirmation.
In contrast, the visa is available to a wider range of individuals, including those who want to work, study, or immigrate to Canada. In order to be eligible for a Visa, individuals must meet a certain criteria, such as having a good health, valid passport, and having no criminal record. Additionally, they may need to provide additional documentation, such as a job offer or a letter of acceptance from Canadian companies.
Differences in the Application Process
Another difference between the ETA and the visa is the application process for each document. The ETA can be easily obtained online through VisaHQ, and the process is generally quick and straightforward. After completing the online application and paying the processing fee, travelers will receive their ETA confirmation via email within a few days.
The visa application process, on the other hand, is generally more complex and time-consuming. Depending on the purpose of the visit and the individual's country of origin, the visa application process may involve completing multiple forms, providing supporting documents, and attending an interview at a Canadian embassy or consulate. Additionally, the processing time for a Visa can vary significantly, with some applications taking several months to be processed.
Differences in Validity and Duration of Stay
The ETA and the visa also differ in terms of their validity and the duration of stay that they allow. The ETA stays valid until your passport expires or after 5 years, whichever occurs first. During this time, travelers with an ETA can visit Canada multiple times for short stays of up to six months at a time.
The visa, on the other hand, is generally valid for a specific period of time, depending on the purpose of the visit. For example, a work visa may be valid for the duration of the individual's employment in Canada, while a student visa may be valid for the duration of the individual's studies in Canada. Additionally, the duration of stay allowed with a visa may be longer than with an ETA, depending on the purpose of the visit.
Differences in Purpose of Visit
As mentioned earlier, the ETA and the visa serve different purposes when it comes to visiting Canada. The ETA is primarily intended for individuals who want to visit Canada for tourism or business purposes, while the visa is intended for individuals who want to work, study, or immigrate to Canada.
For example, if an individual wants to visit Canada for a short vacation or to attend a business conference, they may be eligible for an ETA. On the other hand, if an individual wants to work in Canada or study at a Canadian educational institution, they will likely need to obtain a visa.
Which One is Better - Canada ETA or Visa
It is not necessarily the case that one document is "better" than the other, as it depends on the individual's specific circumstances and the purpose of their visit to Canada.
If visa-exempt foreign nationals are planning to visit Canada for a short period of time, such as for tourism or business purposes, the ETA may be a more suitable option. The ETA is generally easier to obtain and allows for multiple short stays in Canada over a period of up to five years.
On the other hand, if an individual is planning to work, study, or immigrate to Canada, a visa may be a more suitable option. While the visa application process is generally more complex and time-consuming, it allows for a longer duration of stay in Canada and is necessary for certain activities such as working or studying.