Travelling around the world is interesting and intriguing. We get to see the world and experience the differences that create a rainbow joining the poles so apart from each other. Earlier times travelling the world was not that much hard as the geographical barriers were convenient enough to cross with the newly invented ships and railroad. Paperwork was also a lot less compared to now. But as time went by and times changed, the security around geographical boundaries became tighter.
Paperwork increased and the concept of visa was slowly built up upon. Each and every country had different requirements that needed to be met prior to issuing the visa for that country. North America was a favorite with tourists for its raw beauty but the long process of procuring a visa often drew many away from travelling to the country and experiencing its culture. And the visa for every country differed. So application for making visas was also developed upon. Also, the visas were categorized as issued as required.
The Concept of Visa
Visa is a permit to visit a country that you don’t have citizenship of. To enter the geographical boundaries of a nation that is not your motherland you need to fill out an application form stating your purpose of visit and the time you require to stay over there. Along with this, you need to assure the authorities that you have no past criminal records whatsoever or any kind of court cases pending against you. After a thorough background check is done and the details that you have provided are verified the visa application is forwarded for further checks. The visa is issued once all the checks are complete.
Categories of Visa
There are many different categories of visa to sort out the priority of the visa and to keep a track of migration as well as visitors. Also, the categories help both the country and the foreign land to keep an eye on the flow of people and eliminate any possible threats. Following are the visa categories available for issuance.
- Work Visa
- Student Visa
- Tourist Visa
- Dependent Visa
- Immigrant Visa
These visas are further divided into various sub categories. Each country has its own list of visa subcategories. Visiting North America for a foreigner can be quite tedious due to its huge visa requirements. To lessen the burden of issuing a visa for every small trip meant to last only a few days, electronic authorization was developed. This authorization was only given to the citizens of that country who checked under the Visa Waiver list. This made it easy for both the authorities handling the inflow and outflow of tourists and the tourists visiting the country.
Touring North America
Travelling to North America has become quite easy now as many different varieties of visa are available. Obtaining a visa can be a bit difficult for those citizens whose mother country does not have a bilateral agreement with North America. On the other hand, if you are from countries like Great Britain, France and Spain then you can visit the continent without a visa provided your tenure of the visit is no more than 90 days or one and a half month. Having a travel visa for North America also gives you a free pass to travel to Canada on minimum paperwork. North America is a huge continent and there is no end of tourist places to go and visit. You can also pay a visit to Mexico although some other extra formalities might be needed to be filled out.
Making an application for a visa is now even easier with the digital world progressing at a fast rate. There are ways to enter North America without a visa as well if you are well acquainted with the visa waiver procedures and you fulfil the requirements for the same. eTa and ESTA are two electronic mediums through which you can visit North America and Canada respectively without a visa. Let us have a clearer look at eTa and ESTA as these two are often confused as another type of visiting visa.
What is eTa?
- eTA is for Canadian entry and is an electronic medium of authorization that gives you a clearance to board a flight and enter the country without a visa provided you fall under the Visa Waiver Programme.
- It has a validity of five years from the time of its issuance and is not at all connected to the number of days that you are allowed to stay in the country without a visa.
- eTA normally makes the long difficult process of obtaining a visa easier and if you want to visit the country for a few days you can easily use this authorization to enter the country and go around. For a few day tour plans, you would now no longer need to apply for a visa and go through mind-numbing extra-long procedures.
- eTA basically means Electronic Travel Authorization. It is a basic transit pass that helps you to catch your flight from a Canadian airport without a visa. But then also you will need to provide all the required documents at the immigration check center.
- If you have already been to the country before on an eTA then you need to show the required proofs and a valid passport. Having a permit also speeds up the process and increases the chances of you getting a re-entry to the country.
- Only the travelers who are availing the services of flights need an eTA. Travelers who are securing entry into the country through a bust, ship or train do not need to produce an eTA.
- Also, if you belong to the U.S. you do not need to possess an eTA. Canadian citizens also do not need to apply for this transit authorization.
- Those who belong from the Visa Waiver program can apply for the flight clearance but those belonging from other countries that do not fall under the visa waiver list need to have a visa if your travel route is via Canada.
What is ESTA?
- ESTA is an electronic authorization or flight clearance for visiting as well for transit through USA air and sea ports.
- You can apply for this clearance if your native country has bilateral agreements and falls under the checklist of the Visa Waiver Program.
- Having an ESTA helps to get easy passage through North America although the passage and entry are very strictly regulated by the border security officials and the other concerned authorities.
- While applying for ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program it is of utmost importance that you do not hold a travel visa.
- You have to provide all the proofs and also employment records if needed to gain entry via ESTA.
- The full form for ESTA is Electronic System for Travel Authorization. You can easily apply online from your home, office, or even a coffee shop.
- Ensure that you have a valid passport. You must be a citizen of a country that comes under the Visa Waiver Program.
- The ESTA allows you a stay for lesser than 90 days for either travel or business purposes. But to enter the country you must have complete and original documents to show to the authorities.
- Immediate approvals for Australian travelers were already available but for security reasons, they have been withdrawn and now the Australian citizens visiting the USA for a shorter period of time have to apply for an ESTA Authorization at least 72 hours in advance. If this application is not done and processed on time the airlines can deny the flyer from boarding the flight.
Applying for eTA and ESTA
If you have plans visiting both USA and Canada then we invite you to apply for ESTA and for eTA – the Canadian online travel permit. Each of them is valid separately and permits entrance
- The eTA application form is quick and simple to fill. All you’ll need are your personal details and contact information along with proof of identity and scanned copy of the documents.
- If your application is taking time to get processed then do not fret as it might sometime take some days to verify and process all the information.
- It is advised that you pre-book your eTA first before you book your flight ticket as a potential delay may also detain you from boarding your flight and thus causing you a huge financial loss. And of course, will disrupt your plans.
- You can fill up the application one by one if you are visiting with a group of people.
- Be careful while entering your passport number as entering a wrong passport number might result in cancellation of your trip and transit pass.
- Once your application is processed you will receive the eTA on the e-mail address you had provided earlier while filling out the form.
- The check-in at the airport ensures that you have the correct passport and all the identity proofs with you. In case you had to provide additional documents carry the original of those documents as well.
- ESTA application is also made online. The application form is pretty straightforward and you will need to put in only the amount of information asked for.
- While filling up the forms you will need to fill out the answers to some questions asked.
- You will be contacted through your e-mail or your contact number to inform you about your ESTA approval.
- Only citizens of those countries falling under Visa Waiver can apply for this type of travel permit.
- While checking-in, you will be required to provide all the related documents along with your valid passport. Remember to carry any additional documentation that you had uploaded while applying for your ESTA Authorization.
Although these mediums have lessened the load on issuing a visa, these two authorizations have some boundaries and these boundaries are strictly regulated. Although the permission is received almost immediately after application, lack of proper documentation can result in cancellation.
Now that you have a clearer idea of eTA and ESTA you are free to go on a North American tour anytime you want. It not only makes the procedure of your travel easier but also ensures that you get all the facilities that a person with a visa does. Also, it is important that you already have a return ticket after you get the clearance for boarding the flight without a visa. Enjoy a happy tour to North America and continue onwards to the dream country of Canada with your eTA and ESTA.