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Canadian Immigration FAQ

<> Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
Canadian Citizens
Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter the United States directly from Canada for the purposes of visiting or studying.

Intending immigrants, fiances or investors must qualify for a visa in the same manner as other nationalities before entry. Other entrants, such as journalists, temporary workers or NAFTA professionals must present all necessary supporting documentation and/or approved petitions directly to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (www.cbp.gov) Officer at the Port of Entry.

Canadian visitors requre a document complying with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative for all air, land and sea entries. Unlike some other nationalities, as a Canadian, your passport need not be valid beyond the duration of your planned trip to the U.S. and it need not be machine-readable.

Please be sure to check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site for the latest updates on U.S. entry requirements for Canadians and other nationalities.

Canadian visitors are generally granted a stay in the U.S. for up to six months at the time of entry. Requests by any foreigner to extend or adjust a stay must be made to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service prior to the expiration. All Canadians are reminded that U.S. law requires all foreigners to qualify for the desired stay and purpose at the time of their intial entry. A visitor who intends to live, work or study in the U.S. illegally may be permanently barred from the U.S.

For general information about immigration or residency to the United States, please go to the following page at the U.S. State Dept. web site:

More detailed information for Canadians traveling to the U.S. is available from the Canadian Dept. of Consular Affairs.

There are a few exceptions to the general visa waiver policy for Canadian citizens involving foreign citizen spouses and fiancé(e)s, treaty traders and investors, and diplomats. Please use the link below if any of these may apply in your situation.

Effective January 23, 2007, Canadian citizens now require a passport to enter the U.S. by air. Please refer to the page linked below for more information.

Additional detailed information for Canadians traveling to the U.S. is available from the Canadian Dept. of Consular Affairs.

Canadian Business Travelers:

Canadian citizens may enter the U.S. from Canada in several business-related categories. For a brief description of each category and a summary of the documents required to establish eligibility for admission in that category, please use the link below:


NAFTA, E-visas, Treaty Traders

For general information about NAFTA as it relates to U.S. visas, please use the link below. There are more pages that list the professions recognized by NAFTA, E-visa Treaty Traders and Investors, and Free Trade Specialists.


Visa Information Services

You may obtain more information by telephone from the Visa Appointment Reservation System. They can answer your questions and assist you in a variety of ways.

1-888-840-0032 from either the U.S. or Canada - you will be asked to provide your credit card number.       CA $1.59/minute
1-900-451-2778 from within Canada - you will be charged CA$1.89 per minute
1-900-443-3131 from within the U.S. - you will be charged US$1.89 per minute

Many office phones and all pay phones are set to block calls to 900 numbers. If the 900 telephone service is not available to you, please use the 888 number above.

General questions regarding entry into the U.S. may be directed to one of the U.S. ports of entry along the US/Canada border or to one of the pre-clearance stations at principal Canadian airports.

First Nations / Native Americans

Members of Canada's First Nations and Native Americans born in Canada may travel freely across the U.S/Canada border under the terms of the Jay Treaty. More information is available at the page linked below.


Dual Citizenship

Some persons born abroad have a claim to U.S. citizenship. There are different procedures for adults and for children. The link below provides general information.


Types of U.S. visas

For a detailed list of the different categories of U.S. visas and the documentation required to support each of them, please use the link below.


Criminal Ineligibility for U.S. Visa

Any person with a past criminal record may be denied a U.S. Visa or entry into the United States. The page linked below provides information about application for a Waiver of Ineligibility.


Immigrant Visas

If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States or a relative who is a lawful permanent resident, please follow the link below for detailed information.


Non-Immigrant Visas for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens

The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act provides a non-immigrant category within the immigration law that allows the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen to be admitted to the United States in a non-immigrant category. The admission allows the spouse or child to complete processing for permanent residence while in the United States. It also allows those admitted in the new category to have permission for employment while they await processing of their case to permanent resident status. Please follow the link below for detailed information from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The USA will require a passport or other specified documentation for entry into the U.S. from Canada and from all other countries. This will affect both Americans and Canadians.

Since January 2007, a passport has been required to enter or leave the U.S. by air. The requirements for land and sea travel will go into effect no later than June 2009.

Phone numbers

U.S. Embassy information lines:

1-888-840-0032 from either the U.S. or Canada - you will be asked to provide your credit card number. CA$1.59/minute

I.N.S.

Services formerly provided by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) transitioned into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Canadian customers may now inquire about general immigration information at USCIS.Canada@dhs.gov in addition to obtaining immigration information at www.uscis.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a Landed Immigrant in Canada planning a visit to the United States? Owing to recent changes in U.S. policy you may now require both a valid passport and a non-immigrant visa.

However, you may still qualify to travel to the U.S. without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program.

Imposter Sites

Some web sites may attempt to mislead you that they are official government web sites and attempt to charge you for services (such as for USCIS forms and information on immigration procedures) so please take care.

Temporary residency

Canadian citizens may remain for up to six months at a time without a U.S. visa.

Consular Security

If you intend to visit a U.S. Consulate in Canada then please review in advance the security procedures in effect.

American Consular Services in Canada FAQ

If you have not found the information you are looking for, you might find it among the questions most often asked here.