An ETA is an electronically stored authority equivalent to a visa for travellers visiting or transiting through countries where the ETA is required.
You need to apply for an ETA, if:
- You are not a citizen of the country(-ies) you intend to visit
- You are a citizen from a country exempt from the need for a tourist visa for the country (-ies) you intend to visit
This electronic document is a security measure allowing the airlines, travel agents and the countries’ border agencies to verify travellers’ information before they arrive on their territory.
Hereafter, a non-exhaustive list of countries having introduced the ETA:
Visa-free travel to the United States (ESTA system)
Since 12 January 2009, all travellers qualifying for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are required to obtain travel authorisation before travelling to the United States by air or sea.
Important notice: Changes to the Visa Waiver Program since 21 January 2016
Travel authorisation request for visiting the United States
Travellers must log on to the ESTA website (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) and complete the online request form in English. They will have to submit the travel authorisation request sufficiently in advance. The online system will ask them to identify themselves and answer questions on the admission criteria to the United States, as on form I-94W.
Requests can be submitted at any time before travelling. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), however, recommends completing this formality a minimum of 72 hours prior to departure.
In most cases the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) will respond almost immediately.
Things to know
- Authorisation granted: travel is authorised.
- Travel not authorised: the traveller is required to apply to the consular services of an American Embassy for a temporary stay visa before travelling to the United States.
- Authorisation pending: the traveller will be able to check the status of his application on the ESTA website. A definitive answer will be available with 72 hours.
This authorisation is valid for two years, unless cancelled, from the date on which it is issued, or before this date, on the date the passport expires.
It is valid for multiple entries. The applicant can easily update the authorisation previously granted on the “ESTA” website for subsequent trips, or in the event that the itinerary or destination address changes.
ATTENTION: It does not guarantee admission to American territory at the border post. “ESTA” travel authorisation only allows passengers bound for the United States to embark on board an airline or shipping company as part of the Visa Waiver Program.
The “ESTA” system’s goal is to enhance the security of travellers to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. It aims to maintain the program and broaden participation.
Travellers in possession of a valid visa remain authorised to travel to the United States under this visa, as long as it matches the purpose of the stay. They will not be required to request “ESTA” authorisation.
Any ESTA request and any renewal request will be liable to a tax (payable by bank or credit card).
Visa-free travel to Canada (ETA requirement)
On 15 March 2016, Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) became a mandatory entry requirement for travellers with a visa waiver visiting Canada by air. Canada instituted an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) requirement for travellers with a visa waiver travelling to, or transiting via, Canada by air. Travellers will not need to obtain an ETA if they enter the country by land or sea.
With effect from 15 March 2016, citizens of visa waiver countries, apart from the United States, will have to obtain an ETA before travelling to Canada by air, or transiting through it.
Travellers can consult the www.canada.ca/ave website and apply for their ETA. Travellers should preferably obtain their ETA before reserving their flight to Canada. Requesting an ETA is an online process subject to payment of a tax. Submitting an application requires a passport, credit card, e-mail address and Internet access.
Typically, the ETA will be granted a few minutes after the application is made. The ETA is electronically tied to the passport and is valid for 5 years or until the passport expires, whichever is the earlier. Please consult the www.canada.ca/ave website for further information, in particular on how to make an application. You will also find a short video and a number of Q&As.
Visa-free travel to Australia (ETA requirement)
Travellers can consult the https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/visa/appl/electronic-travel-authority website and apply for their ETA. Travellers should preferably obtain their ETA before reserving their flight to Australia.
Requesting an ETA is an online process subject to payment of a tax. Submitting an application requires a passport, credit card, e-mail address and Internet access.