Hi chloe123456-ga -
First I'd like to mention that I am not an attorney and the
information here is not my advice to you. Rather it is a result of
searching the Web for public information and passing that information
on to you.
At present you are not obliged to carry a passport for entry to the
United States, but it is recommended. You may need a non-immigrant
visa if you are a fiancee of a U.S. citizen.
"Canadians are not currently required to have a passport to enter the
USA, but a passport is the best travel document. If you wish to travel
to the U.S. without a passport, you must be able to demonstrate your
citizenship and your identity. Citizenship documents would be an
original Canadian birth certificate or your Citizenship Card. Photo
Identification would be a Drivers License or a Health Card."
This exemption will change in the future:
"By January 2008, travelers to and from ... Canada must have a
current passport, or other secure, accepted document to enter,
re-enter, or transit the United States.... The passport requirement
will go into effect in two stages. It will go into effect for
individuals traveling to the U.S. by air or by sea on New Years Day
2007. It will go into effect on the land and ferry borders on New
Years Day 2008."
Many Canadian citizens can travel to the US without a visa. However,
if you are a fiancee, you ARE required to obtain a non-immigrant
Perhaps you don't consider yourself a fiancee, but in case it is a
possibility here is what is required.
This is what the US consulate says:
"Canadian citizens do not require visas to enter the U.S., except when
coming as immigrants (permanent residents), or in the following
non-immigrant categories: Diplomatic,... Treaty Trader/ Treaty
Investor,... Fiancé(e) of U.S. citizens ("K1/K2" visas), or spouse of
a U.S. citizen (K3/K4 visas)."
Your own government documents this requirement as follows:
"... permanent residents of Canada (and their children) as well as
[some] other people (i.e. foreign government officials, officials and
employees of international organizations, treatytraders and investors,
fiancé/es ...) do require a non-immigrant visa to enter the United
USA Bound Advice for Canadian Travelers
If you are a fiancee, you would be required to carry a K1 visa.
Consular Services at the US Mission in Canada
"For more information on visa requirements for Canadians or to make an
appointment for a non-immigrant visa interview (if a visa is needed),
dial 1.900.451.2778 from Canada or 1.900.443.3131 from the United
States (both numbers charge a fee).
Note: Many office phones and all pay phones and cell phones are set to
block calls to 900 numbers. To charge fees to your credit card, please
call 1.888.840.0032 from Canada or the U.S.
It is also possible to make an appointment online by visiting the Visa
Appointment Reservation System website. A fee will be charged to your
credit card for use of this system."
For more information (telephone numbers for visa reservation) please go to:
Consular Services at the US Mission ? Visa Appointment Reservation System
US-VISIT: FINGER SCANNING & DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPH
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is in the process of
instituting biometric scanning at airports for U.S. only for Canadian
visitors holding a non-immigrant visa (including the K fiance visa).
They say it is to "verify the person at our port is the same person
who received the visa."
"...the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer now uses the
inkless, digital fingerscanner to capture two of your fingerscans. You
first place your left index finger and then your right index finger on
the scanner. The officer also takes your digital photograph. These
procedures add only seconds to the overall processing time."
"US VISIT Exit procedures are being tested at the following airports:
* Baltimore/Washington International
* Chicago O?Hare International
* Dallas/Fort Worth International
* Denver International
* Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County International
* Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International
* Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
* Luis Muñoz Marin International in San Juan, Puerto Rico
* Newark Liberty International
* Philadelphia International
* San Francisco International
* Seattle-Tacoma International"
Homeland Security Travel and Transportation
You will not be issued an 1-94 but you will be asked to provide an
address in the US where you will be staying during your visit.
To sum up, this passage from the Canadian USA-Bound advice pamphlet
"Generally, the criteria for admissibility [to the U.S.] as a
temporary visitor include, but are not limited to: proof of
citizenship; evidence of residential, employment and/or educational
ties to Canada; legitimate purpose for the trip; reasonable length of
stay; and proof of financial support while in the United States. In a
nutshell, this ?test? helps determine whether you are traveling for
legitimate reasons, have the financial resources for your travel and
living expenses, and intend to return home. The U.S. official at the
point of entry is the sole judge of your admissibility."
USA Bound Advice for Canadian Travelers
http://www.voyage.gc.ca/main/pubs/PDF/usa_bound-en.pdf (page 19)
For a list of U.S. Consulates in Canada, please see the following website:
US Mission in Canada-Consulates
I didn't mean to "jump the gun" and turn you from a girlfriend into a
fiancee. I just wanted you to have all the information that MAY apply
to you now or in the future.
Congratulations on your Masters Degree, and good luck with your relationship.
Google Search Strategy
Search terms: canadian citizen border crossing
Search terms: canadian citizen visa exemption
Request for Answer Clarification by
04 May 2006 22:51 PDT
Thank-you for your detailed response. As I have 60 days from my F1
expiration to leave the country, I plan to go back to Canada before
the 60 days is up but plan on coming back to the US after a week or
two, as a visitor.
If I don't carry my passport but show them proof of citizenship, will
the customs agents have access to my history of arrival and departure,
previous F1 Status without a passport? Can they deny me entry without
a passport, although I supply them with all other information?
Any help would be greatly appreciated
Clarification of Answer by
05 May 2006 22:34 PDT
Let me take your questions in turn, starting with the last.
"Can they deny me entry without
a passport, although I supply them with all other information?"
In my original answer, under PASSPORT, I quote the US Consulate
statement that a Canadian citizen does not need a passport to enter
the US (under most circumstances, as explained). You can use a
Canadian Citizenship Card or an original Canadian birth certificate
along with photo ID.
"...will the customs agents have access to my history of arrival and departure,
previous F1 Status without a passport?"
I presume you filled out an I-94 when you entered the US to go to
school. From the following official statements you can infer that the
US has access to the information on that I-94.
"... The information transcribed on the I-94 Form at the port-of-entry
is the basis for all further immigration-related activity in which you
may engage while in the United States. Benefit agencies, specifically
the Social Security Administration, make decisions based the
hand-written endorsement recorded on the Form I-94."
Further evidence for the assumption that the US has access to your
I-94 information is this:
"Be sure to turn in the I-94 or I-95 Form to the proper authorities on
departure.... It is proof that you obeyed U.S. immigration laws, which
is essential if you want to return to the United States at a future
date as an immigrant or nonimmigrant."
It seems to me that the simplest way of effecting your planned border
crossings is to return the I-94 when you exit the U.S, then reenter
without a visa (unless you are a fiancee, of course). It also seems
logical that information on the I-94 is accessible to the US
Immigration Service (or Homeland Security) whether you travel on a
passport or not.
However, please let me reiterate that I am not an attorney. My
"conclusions" above are surmise based on the documents publicly
available. You may interpret it a different way, and perhaps an
immigration attorney or the US government could have another take on
All the best,