If you want to travel to an international destination, you might require a visa to enter the country.

In recent years, many countries have begun to implement an electronic visa (eVisa) option to make the life easier for travelers, as the visa can be obtained online.

What is an Electronic Visa?

An electronic visa is a digital document that allows travelers to enter a foreign country for a specified period of time, which is usually 30–90 days.

Previously, you would have to visit a consulate or embassy in person and submit a visa application in person along with the various documents required.

Today, many countries make the process of obtaining a visa much easier and efficient by allowing you to apply online. The application is usually cheaper as well, as less processing and administrative work is required.

Note that it’s more likely than not that you won’t need a visa to enter a country, as it is not a prerequisite to enter many countries. Currently, there are over 180 countries US passport owners can enter without needing a visa.

How to Apply for an Electronic Visa

While the exact process of obtaining an electronic visa can vary depending on the country you’re visiting, it generally works as follows:

  • Visit the country’s eVisa website: Typically, countries will have a dedicated website where you can apply for a visa.
  • Complete the application: You will be required to fill an online form with your personal information, including your name, passport details, and travel plans. Make sure you double-check all your inputted information, as incomplete or inaccurate information could lead to delays or rejections.
  • Pay the application fee: To submit your application, you will need to pay a small fee using a credit card or other accepted form of payment.
  • Wait for approval: After you have submitted your application and paid the fee, you will need to wait for approval. As this can take anywhere from a few hours to days or even weeks, depending on the country and type of visa you have applied for, it’s better to apply well in advance.
  • Receive your eVisa: If your application is approved, you will receive your electronic visa to your email. It would be wise to print out a copy of the eVisa to avoid problems, though your approved application should be in the country’s system.

Countries That Require an eVisa for US Citizens

There are a number of popular destinations that US citizens are required to have an eVisa to enter, including Egypt, India, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, and Vietnam.

Other countries, including China and Russia, require US citizens to obtain a visa by at least partly visiting their country’s embassy, consulate, or visa processing center in person.

Difference Between an eTA and an eVisa

It’s easy to get confused when it comes to the difference between an eVisa and Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).

In short, there are 4 key differences between the two:

  • An eTA is only available to passport holders that come from a visa waiver country. An example is British citizens who want to travel to the USA. They must apply for an ESTA.
  • An eTA is usually designed for shorter-term visits than an eTA – approximately 30-90 days.
  • An eTA typically permits multiple entries into a country until its expiration, whereas an eVisa can sometimes just be single-entry.
  • An eTA is usually cheaper to apply for, and the approval process is quicker.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).