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Entering the U.S.

This section contains detailed information for people interested in traveling to the United States. Please select a link on the left for further details.

Note: 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 before entry in the same manner as other nationalities. 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 ( Officer at the Port of Entry. Our "Doing Business In America page" has more information on this subject.

Additionally, 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.

To enter the United States by air, land or sea, Canadian visitors must have a document that complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. 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. For more information on passport requirements, please visit the relevant section of this website.

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 others.

Canadian visitors are generally granted a stay in the U.S. for up to six months at the time of entry. Requests to extend or adjust a stay must be made prior to expiry to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. 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. may be permanently barred from the U.S.

For general information about Immigrating to or Residency in the United States, please visit Travel.State.Gov.

Additionally, more detailed information for Canadians traveling to the U.S. is available from Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

2 August 2013: Visa Changes for Same-Sex Couples

Secretary Kerry: "I'm very pleased to be able to announce that effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it will consider the application of opposite-sex spouses. And here is exactly what this rule means: If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. If you are the spouse of a non-citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. And if you are in a country that doesn't recognize your same-sex marriage, then your visa application will still be treated equally at every single one of our 222 visa processing centers around the world." (Read more!)

26 April 2013: CBP to Begin Rollout of Automated Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection today announced that the automation of Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record is now effective which will streamline the admissions process for individuals lawfully visiting the United States. Form I-94 provides international visitors evidence they have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. which is necessary to verify alien registration, immigration status, and employment authorization.

    Read More!