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What Is an eVisa and How Do I Get One?

Becky Hart | Mar 9, 2022

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You've probably seen the exciting news. Many countries are beginning to relax their tourism restrictions and re-open their borders to more visitors. That doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all, though. Before you pack your bags, brush up on the new travel requirements for your destination and make sure you have your paperwork in order, including eVisas.

What is an eVisa?

Traditionally, a visa is a travel document issued by the embassy of another country that gives you permission to travel to that country. Not all countries require visas.

An eVisa does the same thing but is applied for electronically rather than submitting physical paperwork. Applying for an eVisa is quicker and easier than applying for a traditional visa. And in most cases, you don’t ever need to print anything off, including the eVisa before you travel.

What is the difference between an eVisa and other types of visas? And what’s an eTA?

Before we get into the different ways of obtaining a visa, it’s important to point out that a country may require you to apply for a visa in a certain way. For example, as of late February 2022, United States citizens traveling to India can use eVisas. However, Brazil requires U.S. citizens to obtain an embassy visa, and Indonesia (including the island of Bali) may issue a visa on arrival.

  • Embassy visa: Seasoned international travelers are probably most familiar with an embassy visa, so called because you have to go to the embassy with the required documents to apply. This is the traditional, paper version of a decade ago.

  • eVisa: Again, an eVisa is like an embassy visa but applied for online. They are typically limited to travel for tourism.

  • Visa on arrival: Also called a border gate visa, you can get this type of visa at the border as you enter a country. You will still be required to provide documentation and pay a fee. Like an eVisa, they’re typically only issued to those traveling for tourism.

  • eTA: Also known as Electronic Travel Authorization, this is not the same thing as a visa. Visas generally guarantee that you can enter a country, and while an eTA may be required to travel to a country, it does not necessarily guarantee that you will be admitted. Just because a country is listed as “visa-free” or mentions a “visa waiver,” doesn’t mean you don’t need any documentation at all. You may still be required to have an eTA.

Research travel requirements in advance of your departure so that you don’t get stopped unnecessarily at the border.

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Do I need an eVisa?

The short answer is to use a resource like sherpa or ask the embassy of the country you plan to visit to find out what kind of travel documents are required. Whether you need an eVisa or other documentation can depend on several things:

  • Your country of residence
  • Your destination country (or countries)
  • The reason for your travel
  • How long you plan to stay in the country

How do I complete an eVisa application?

One of the easiest ways to obtain an eVisa is to apply through sherpa, a guide to providing travel identification requirements and keeping you informed about the latest travel restrictions. Sherpa will collect the information required by the destination government and submit the eVisa application. Processing time is often between three and five business days, so you know you’re cutting through the hassle and confusion of bureaucratic processes.

If you are unable to apply for an eVisa, you’ll need to contact your destination country’s embassy. They will provide specific information for how to apply for entry to their country.

How much is an eVisa?

How much an eVisa costs will depend on your country of residence and your destination. Some destinations charge as little as $10 while others charge closer to $200.

Pay attention to whether the eVisa and its cost covers one or multiple countries. For example, you can apply for an East Africa eVisa through sherpa, which is for travelers visiting Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda for tourism on one trip.

Meeting the travel requirements for your next international trip doesn’t have to be confusing or time-consuming. By working with our partner sherpa, you can find out what documentation you need and apply for an eVisa, all in one spot. You’ll also find up-to-date travel restrictions and if travel insurance is required. It’s time to travel again. Be ready.

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