Major countries are now requiring travelers from privileged passport-holding nations to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before embarking on their tourist visits. It’s important to note that an ETA is not a visa, but rather a pre-approval system for entry into these countries.

The implementation of ETA systems aims to streamline customs procedures and reduce waiting times at border crossings for travelers from privileged countries. Failure to secure an ETA prior to arrival may result in fines or other penalties.

Privileged Passport Holders Have To Pay To Visit Neighbors

The big countries are requiring you to get an electronic travel authorization (ETA) before arriving as a tourist to their country. This is not a visa.

The ETA system will grant privilege passport travelers permission to enter other privilege countries. You will need to apply for an ETA prior to arrival. If you haven’t received permission to travel before arrival, you may get fined.

Countries like the USA, UK and European Union are working on cutting down custom lines and their ETA system each of them have is how they are doing it.

So, even if you’re a US citizen visiting the UK you need an ETA before arriving.

The ETA systems have a typical wait of about three days before getting a decision on your application.

How ETA Systems Work

United Kingdom

To apply for an ETA for the UK, visit the official UK government website. The current fee stands at £10 or approximately $12.60.

United States of America

The USA’s ETA system can be accessed through the Official ESTA Application Website and requires a fee of $21.

European Union

The European Union’s ETA system, known as ETIAS, will come into effect in the first half of 2025. More information can be found on the ETIAS – European Union website.

Additional Visa Requirements

Even with an ETA, some travelers may still need to fulfill additional visa requirements based on their destination country’s regulations and what your passport country is. It’s essential to research and comply with all visa requirements before travel.

Business Travel Considerations

Business travel may have separate requirements, with each country imposing its own set of rules regarding business activities conducted within its borders. It’s crucial to familiarize oneself with these regulations to avoid any complications during the trip.

Research directly from the countries official website. Don’t rely on some guy’s blog post which could be dated, doesn’t fit your circumstances or is just plain wrong.

Other Countries Policies

While major countries are implementing ETA systems, some regions like México, Central America, and most of South America, excluding Brazil, may not adopt such systems due to their emphasis on promoting tourism and avoiding unnecessary expenses.

Some of these countries have tourist exit taxis instead.

Potential Scams

Travelers should exercise caution when applying for ETAs online, as third-party websites may charge additional fees for services that can be easily obtained through official government channels.

Tourist Exit Taxes

Some countries, like Mexico, impose tourist exit taxes, which are separate from ETA systems. Travelers should research and prepare to pay these fees directly to the government upon departure to avoid any inconveniences.

For example, México has a tourist exit tax full details at their government travel website at Departure Tax for Mexico: Everything You Need to Know About

Basically, if you are a foreigner non-resident you have to pay when you leave Mexico. The amount varies depending what method of transportation you use to leave the country. From USD$20 (sea) to USD$65 (air).

Their is a third-party website to help you pay that for an extra fee but just pay the government directly when leaving. It’s cheaper and easy.

México has no plans for an ETA system and is relying on the tourist exit tax to pay for tourist development projects.

Many small Caribbean island countries also have tourist exit taxes that they collect at the airport or seaport right before you leave. Research these before you travel so you don’t get surprised.

I saw a tourist in the Bahamas once throw a fit because the tourist exit tax of US$20 (this was 1999) and he didn’t have the cash. He went around begging for it from other travelers because the Bahamas wasn’t going to allow him to board his flight.

Conduct Thorough Research

It’s crucial to conduct thorough research on entry requirements, fees, and regulations when planning any trip. Prices and requirements are subject to change, so staying informed and prepared is key to a smooth travel experience. Additionally, carrying extra cash for unforeseen expenses and paying government fees directly are recommended practices to ensure a hassle-free journey.