What is the difference between an ETA and eVisitor for Australia?


Background

An ETA is the most widely held tourist visa for Australia. And today, I wanted to compare it with another common visa which is often asked about from our travel customers, as it also assumes a similar type trip. However, there are a few key points to note between the two, as the government treats them as 2 different types of visas entirely.

electronic travel authority details

Advantages of an ETA

An ETA has an advantage of being amendable, or fixable, by airlines, travel agents, or visa specialists if a mistake is made on your application. Since the airline will be the first point of contact when traveling, it may give travelers like yourself peace-of-mind knowing that the airline can amend your visa details to match your passport upon check-in.

An ETA is usually issued reliably quicker. Many times if you apply for an eVisitor, you are put in a queue for processing. This can be okay in non-peak travel seasons, but can actually delay the processing procedure to more than a few days if your travel is last minute or during a high season month (October - January) .

An ETA comes with a grant number. As of late 2019, any time an ETA is issued, it is verifiable on VEVO, which is the online verification system on the Department of Home Affairs website. Many of the well known ETA websites, such as us here at EasyETA or Visa Bureau will provide a grant number upon request, which is recommended so you can verify your visa.

No Account creation necessary. Since an ETA can be issued by your local visa specialist, this type of visa does not require an immigration acount (IMMI account) to be created through the government. So, it often is a bit quicker to obtain an ETA, but a small fee must be paid for processing.

Lastly, an ETA is available to more global mix of non-European countries. See below for a full list of which countries are eligible for both ETA and eVisitor visas.

Advantages of an eVisitor visa

An eVisitor, for those who qualify for it, has the advantage in the cost category. If you have enough time to apply early, don't mind creating an immigration account, and can guarantee no mistakes will be made on the application, then this is a good option for you.

In most cases, the eVisitor is issued within 2 business days, but can vary based on seasonality. These visas are traditionally processed on the government website, which has its own pros and cons. If a mistake is made, you will need to contact them to have it fixed, which can take several days or weeks.

How an ETA and eVisitor are Similar

The two visas allow for much of the same type of travel. You are permitted to enter for tourism purposes, seeing familiy or friends, or short-term studies of 3-months or less. And, although your travel time must be less than 3 months (not 90 days), you may re-enter Australia multiple times within the validity period of your visa. This validity period is the earlier of 12-months OR the expiration date of your passport.

It's important to note that neither an ETA or eVisitor permits work while on your trip. If you intend on visiting Australia and earning money, then a working holiday visa or other type of visa is required.

Are there other types of tourist visas?

The short answer is yes. In addition to an ETA or eVisitor, you can also obtain a Visitors visa (subclass 600). However, please note that this does not compare as similarly, as a visitors visa is meant for longer term trips such as 6-months or more.

How Long Does it Take to Get Your Visa for Australia?

Here, I have compared the averae time it takes to obtain an ETA or eVisitor. Have a look:

Processing Time

ETA

1-Day, or Instant Approvals for an additional fee

eVisitor

90% within 2-Days

Summary of ETA versus eVisitor visas

ETA

eVisitor

3-Months of Travel
Multiple Entries
12-month Validity
1-Day Processing
Instant Processing
Amendable
Permits Work
Price $9.95
$20.00 from government
Free
Available to
See below
31 Nationalities European Nations Only
Where to Apply Visa Service Providers, government, or airlines Visa Service Providers or Government
Apply Now

Which countries can obtain an eVisitor?

Citizens of the following may apply online for an eVisitor: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Which countries can obtain an ETA?

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States

Summary / Verdict

Each traveler is different. The time it takes to obtain a visa may be more important to some people more than others. The cost is free for an eVisitor, but fixing this visa can be nearly impossible or take time and require paperwork to be filed with the government.

In addition to having to create a Department of Home Affairs account, the processing time can be slightly longer for an eVisitor.

An ETA, however, which is slightly more popular and is widely used by travel agents for their customers, is worth your consideration if your nationality is listed. The advantages seem to outweight the drawbacks, but a small fee is required.

If you are looking for the cheapest service fee available, we offer services for a flat rate of $9.95 versus the government's $20.00 service fee.

For many travelers the peace-of-mind of being able to view your visa online prior to travel, and make changes to the information, can be worth it for this low price point. Just note that changes are required prior to travel, but in most cases this can be accomplished within 24 hours.

Helpful Links

Here are some helpful links to get started with your visa.

If your trip is longer than 3 months, or if you wish to work in Australia, Find a Visa.

If you are unsure of which type of visa is best for your trip, contact an Australian Visa Office

If you have already obtained a visa with us at EasyETA, then learn how you can verify your Australian visa online.