Abstract : We have performed a detailed characterization study of electrochemically etched p-type GaAs in a hydrofluoric acid-based electrolyte. The samples were investigated and characterized through cathodoluminescence (CL), X-ray diffraction (XRD), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). It was found that after electrochemical etching, the porous layer showed a major decrease in the CL intensity and a change in chemical composition and in the crystalline phase. Contrary to previous reports on p-GaAs porosification, which stated that the formed layer is composed of porous GaAs, we report evidence that the porous layer is in fact mainly constituted of porous As2O3. Finally, a qualitative model is proposed to explain the porous As2O3 layer formation on p-GaAs substrate.