Which Travel Authorization (eTA or ESTA) to choose?
If you are going to North America soon, you will need travel documents. With all these standards and regulations, it is not easy to see clearly. Application for a visa or travel authorization (eTA or ESTA)? We explain everything to you in this article.
For a stay of less than 6 months in Canada : You can carry out the formalities for entering Canada directly via the Internet by clicking on the online form. It is not necessary to obtain an appointment at the Canadian embassy or consulate.
eTA and ESTA, presentation of these two travel authorizations
ESTA is the acronym for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This is a travel authorization, set up by the US government, for people wishing to travel to the United States by air or sea. This authorization replaces a tourist visa for travelers coming from a member country of the Visa Waiver Program (visa exemption program).
To apply, you must meet several criteria:
- be a national of a Visa Waiver Program member country;
- be in possession of a valid biometric passport or electronic passport;
- going to the United States for a tourist stay, a business trip or a transit;
- arrive on US soil by air or sea;
- the duration of your stay must not exceed a maximum of 90 days.
How to get your ESTA?
The process to obtain an ESTA authorization takes place exclusively online, on the US government website or through the services of a private service provider.
You will be asked to complete an online form for your ESTA application. This ESTA form mainly concerns your identity, your life and your travel document: name (maiden name or married name depending on your passport), first name, date and place of birth, passport number, date of issue and expiry, contact details, criminal and medical history, previous stays abroad, etc. Once your ESTA form has been completed, you must enter a payment card to pay the processing fees for your ESTA application.
An ESTA is valid for 2 years, within the limit of the validity date of your passport.
So, if you want to visit the United States of America under these conditions, between AVE and ESTA, you must choose ESTA.
eTA stands for Electronic Travel Authorization. For English speakers, this authorization is known by the acronym ETA for Electronic Travel Authorization. Know that these two names refer to exactly the same thing.
The eTA is a necessary authorization to be able to enter Canadian territory, but only by plane. An eTA is therefore not necessary in the event of arrival by boat, even on a cruise liner.
The AVE is for nationals of the 61 countries that are part of the Canadian Visa Waiver Program. Having a valid biometric passport or electronic passport is mandatory to be able to apply. The maximum duration of your stay must be 6 months.
How to get your eTA?
To apply for an eTA , you must complete an online form and pay the required fees. To do this, you can either go to the official Canadian government website or use the services of a private service provider. Opting for a private site allows you to benefit from personalized assistance and therefore reduces the risk of refusal.
An eTA is valid for 5 years, up to the expiry date of your passport. If you want to visit Canada, between eTA and ESTA, you must choose eTA.
ESTA and ETA, the similarities
As you may have noticed, there are many similarities between an eTA authorization and an ESTA; the Canadian eTA having been copied from the model of the American ESTA.
- The ESTA and the eTA are travel authorizations linked to the passport. It is essential that this same passport is used for travel. It is by scanning your passport that customs officers check that you are in order.
- The eTA, like the ESTA, is obtained before departure. Airline agents will check your eTA or ESTA, even before you board.
- Obtaining these two travel authorizations requires an online application only. No need to make an appointment at the US or Canadian Embassy nearest you.
- The ESTA and the eTA authorize you to travel, respectively to the United States or to Canada, within the framework of a tourist trip, a business trip or a transit. You therefore do not have the right to work, study or emigrate to the United States or Canada with the ESTA and eTA. If this is your goal, you will need to apply for the appropriate visa or green card.
- eTA and ESTA are both mandatory, but they do not guarantee entry to US or Canadian soil. This right is given following the control by the customs agents, on your arrival at the border post.
ESTA and eTA, the differences
- This makes sense, but remember all the same that the eTA is used to travel to Canada, and the ESTA for a stay in the United States. Even if the two countries are close, one authorization cannot replace the other.
- The AVE is valid for nationals of 61 different territories, while the ESTA is only valid for 40 countries (Figures updated in September 2022).
- The ESTA concerns travelers arriving by air and sea, while the eTA is only necessary for travelers arriving in Canada by air.
- An ESTA costs 21 US dollars on the government website since May 2022 while the price of the AVE is 7 Canadian dollars. The price of ESTA and eTA will be different if you go through the services of an independent site. This difference is explained by the personalized assistance provided by the private service provider.
- The maximum length of your stay is also not the same. With an eTA, you can stay 6 consecutive months in Canada while with an ESTA, your stay must not exceed 90 consecutive days.
- The eTA is valid for 5 years, while an ESTA is only valid for 2 years. Theoretically, an unlimited number of trips are possible during this period. In both cases, a new application is necessary if your personal information changes and/or if you obtain a new passport.
You now know the basics of these two travel authorizations. All you have to do is choose your destination. Have a good trip !