An electronic visa is a type of visa document required by a citizen who intends to enter the territory of another state. This technology is currently used by dozens of countries and simplifies the process of submitting documents and issuing a visa. The eVisa was first used in Australia. After regular complaints from foreigners, Australia’s government decided to issue electronic visas through a simplified process via the internet. Later, the method was adopted by several other states and today, electronic and paper visas can coexist. If necessary, an eVisa is glued into the citizen's passport.
Features of obtaining an electronic visa
The provision of an e-visa has several features:
- There is a limited period of entry (usually one to six days from the date of receipt)
- The period of validity of the permit varies between one and three months
- The request is made on the relevant state’s official website
- The grounds for issuing an eVisa are tourism, visiting relatives or medical treatment
- The validity period of the applicant's foreign passport must exceed the period of validity of the eVisa by at least six months
Difference between eVisa and eTA
First of all, the eTA is not a visa, it's an electronic travel authorization. An eTA can only be obtained by travelers who are nationals of a country that falls under the destination’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In contrast, eVisas are usually available to citizens of most countries and territories.
Online visa process
To obtain the permission in question, you will need to follow some simple steps. Any individual can do it without third-party assistance. Here is a step-by-step guide:
- Visit the site where you can apply for an eVisa (if necessary, you can go to the official portal of the embassy of your home country, where a list of states issuing electronic visas is usually indicated).
- Register for a visa application form. You will be asked to share some personal data and the purpose of the visit. Remember, some states require you to provide the address of your stay or hotel reservations.
- Scan the relevant documents (usually passports and international passports) and submit them online.
- Pay the consular fee and get confirmation by means of a scanned document (receipt).
- Wait for a set period (usually no more than 5 business days).
Once you receive permission, we recommend printing it out on paper. In the case of refusal, the public authorities will indicate the reason for the decision.
In addition to a printout, border guards have the right to request a return ticket, which indicates the date of departure. Separately, confirmation of the place of residence during the stay in the country (reservation at the hotel, address of a relative, etc.) must be provided. In a number of states, financial means are also checked upon entry, and these should be sufficient for the stay. The living wage is determined individually by each country.
Documents for registration
An online visa requires a certain package of documents. Without them, the eVisa will be denied. Each country has its own list of documents, which is displayed on the official websites of the relevant departments or intermediary structures. A separate requirement applies to the quality and size of scanned copies. The symbols must be clearly visible, and it is forbidden to make any edits to the applicant's photo.
The documents required to apply for an eVisa usually include:
- Passport and/or international passport valid for your stay in the country and six months after leaving it
- Color photographs of the applicant in a certain format without edits
- Birth certificates of minors crossing the border with an adult (if the children do not have personal passports or a corresponding mark in their passport)
- A notarized permission from parents (relatives, guardians) sending a child on a trip abroad with other adults
- Proof of payment of the consular fee (scanned)
- Some states require you to provide an address of residence for the duration of your stay in the country. In this case, you need to print the relevant document: for example, a hotel reservation. Among other documents that border guards may ask for, we note return tickets showing the date of departure and a medical insurance policy.
Pros and cons
The e-visa system has its advantages and disadvantages, as detailed in the table below:
- Saves time
- Efficient registration
- Fewer documents required
- Minimal mark in the passport (or none at all)
- Can be "attached" to a new passport
- No need to visit consulates and embassy
- Application is considered quickly
- Any reason for refusal is given
- Any internet issues at border crossings may cause difficulties with entry or exit
- Shorter terms of validity
- The need to print on paper
- Activation of intermediaries that require additional fees for services
- Restriction on arrival methods
To apply for an online visa, you do not need to leave your home and waste time in long queues at the consulate (embassy). The registration procedure is transparent and understandable, which virtually eliminates the risk of extortion or fraud. Any applicant with basic IT skills can handle it.
Not all countries issue e-visas yet, but this list is constantly expanding. A number of states impose restrictions on such permits. For example, an eVisa holder is required to arrive at a specific checkpoint, usually an airport. The traveler needs to find out in advance where the online visa is valid.
One of the more significant disadvantages is the long wait at the border. Unlike a regular visa, the electronic version is checked for a long time and carefully. Problems with getting through border control on eVisa often arise both at the entrance to and at the exit from the country.
Visa online: where can I apply?
Countries where eVisas are issued includes:
Many citizens want to know whether it is possible to obtain a visa online for a particular country. The list of countries using this entry permit method is constantly updated. Consideration of the application and receipt of eVisa usually does not exceed five business days from the date of submission of documents. Each state sets its own list of documents required and the time to verify the received data.
eVisa for Cyprus: features
You can apply for an online visa to Cyprus on its embassy websites. The conditions for obtaining one are quite strict: the applicant is only granted the right to a single entry, and the period of his or her stay is limited to three months. Entry to Cyprus by eVisa is only available from the territory of the state of which the applicant is a citizen. The cost of an e-visa to Cyprus depends on the country of issue. The price of services varies. For example, for citizens of the Russian Federation, registration is free of charge.
eVisa to Mexico: features
You can apply for an online visa to Mexico on the website of its National Institute of Migration. It allows a single entry by the applicant and a maximum period of stay of six months. An eVisa is valid only at Mexican airports, so you won’t be able to cross the border via land transport with it (this is the main difference from a regular visa).
eVisa to Sri Lanka: features
You can apply for an eVisa to Sri Lanka on the portal of the Department of Emigration and Immigration. The eVisa price for this country is US$35, but for children under 12 years of age, the document review service is provided free of charge. The conditions are quite lenient: the applicant can enter the country twice within a month. An eVisa is valid for six months from the date of issue.
eVisa to Myanmar features
Can you get a visa online for Myanmar? Yes – the service is available on its visa portal website. The price is US$50. The conditions are strict: the applicant is granted a single entry for a maximum period of 28 days. A Myanmar eVisa is valid for 30 calendar days and cannot be extended. You can enter via any of Myanmar’s three national airports: Yangon, Mandalay or Naypyidaw. eVisas are not valid at ground checkpoints.
eVisa to India: features
You can register for an eVisa on India’s portal of the Bureau of Immigration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The price is US$110. The conditions are lenient for foreigners: the validity period is one year, although the duration of one stay is limited to 3 months.
eVisa to Saudi Arabia: features
An eVisa for Saudi Arabia is available on the VisitSaudi portal. Filling out a standard form takes a few minutes. The validity period is 12 months from the date of receipt. The period of a single stay should not exceed 90 days. Entry with an eVisa to Saudi Arabia is allowed at both ground checkpoints and airports. The fee for services varies between US$80 and 200.
Singapore eVisa features
There are several accredited intermediaries of Singapore Visa Application Centers on the internet, where you can apply for a visa online. Popular examples include Global Singapore and Singapore Visa, etc. The cost of services varies between US$53 and 130, depending on the intermediary’s price list. Grant conditions include a period of validity of the permit for 9 weeks. The maximum period of stay in Singapore on an eVisa is one month.
With the development of digital technologies, more and more people are seeking information about an eVisa: what it is and how to apply for it. And this is not surprising – the opportunity to obtain a visa document without leaving home attracts many. Today, anyone can get an eVisa, subject to the requirements of the country of entry. The standard review period is five working days, and the applicant can stay in the territory of another state for anything between several weeks and a year. Despite the obvious convenience of the method, it still needs to be improved. For example, a lack of internet connection at a border checkpoint causes entry delays or denials.