The Canadian passport is among the most powerful in the world. Its citizens can currently visit 184 world countries without the need of a visa.
The United States is among these countries as well. Canadians, along with Bermudians, are the only nationals that do not need a visitor visa to enter the US for nonimmigrant purposes.
Do Canadian Citizens Need a Visa for USA?
Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the US for nonimmigrant purposes, expect in the following cases:
- Treaty traders and investors (requires E Visa)
- Foreign citizen fiancé(e) (K-1 Visa), as well as the fiancé(e)’s children (K-2 Visa)
- A U.S. citizen’s foreign citizen spouse traveling to reside in the U.S. while awaiting final completion of the process of immigration (K-3 Visa), as well as the spouse’s children (K-4 Visa)
- Spouses of lawful permanent residents (V-1 Visas), as well as the spouse’s children who are traveling to reside in the U.S. while awaiting final completion of the process of immigration (V-2 Visas)
- Non-immigrants travelling to the United States for work (Non-Immigrant Visas), including
- Canadian government officials (A Visas), if entering the U.S. for temporary or permanent assignment;
- Officials and employees of international organizations (G Visas), if entering the U.S. for temporary or permanent assignment; and
- NATO officials, representatives, and employees, only if they are being assigned to the U.S. (as opposed to an official trip).
Do Canadian Citizens Need an ESTA to Visit USA?
Canadian and Bermudian citizens are the only nationals in the world that can enter the US for non-immigrant purposes without an ESTA. Therefore, Canadian passport holders do not need ESTA.
However, the case is different for foreigners residing in Canada. There are 38 world countries that fall under the US Visa Waiver program. If you are a national of one of them, residing in Canada, you will need an ESTA to enter the United States.
On the other hand, if you are a national of the rest of the world countries, but residing in Canada you will need to apply for a US visa, even for tourism purposes.
TN Visa for Canadian Citizens
To create better relationships between countries in America, the U.S in cooperation with Canada and Mexico created the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This agreement, besides its economic and trade benefits, also has travelling and working advantages on a TN visa.
The TN Visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows citizens of Canada to live and work in the U.S temporarily. The holders of this visa have to return to Canada upon its expiration. This visa allows only citizens of Canada and Mexico, not permanent residents, to work in the U.S if they find a job beforehand.
A distinct feature of the TN visa is the fact that there is no need for sponsoring from the employer. This makes the fees for the employer and employee very low. The employer does not have to pay the listed fees as in the H-1B visa, except for the Form I-129 petition fee and premium processing fee of $1,225.
US Visa Required Documents for Applicants from Canada
The main part of every US visa application is the gathering of required documents. There is a number of certain required documents for every type of US visa that the applicant will have to submit. Following, find the commonly required documents:
- Appointment confirmation page (if applicable)
- Confirmation page that you have completed the application form DS-160 – which you will receive in your email after completing the form.
- Valid Passport – for at least 6 months beyond your date of planned stay in the US. Keep in mind that your passport must have at least one blank page in order to be able to affix visa.
- Two identical photos – of 5 x 5 cm size, color and taken within the last 6 months. If you have successfully uploaded a picture to the DS-160 application form, then you are not required to submit an additional photo.
- Previous US visas (if applicable) – if you have ever been to the US, you must show proof by presenting the visas. If these visas are affixed in and older passport then take that passport with you too at the appointment center.
- ACRO – which is a police certificate you obtain from the authorities in your country and proves if you have ever been arrested, cautioned or convicted.
- Letter from an approved physician, if you have a medical condition that could have a bearing on your eligibility for a visa.
- Letter of invitation for B-2 visa applicants
If you have ever been rejected from entering or deported from the US, you must also submit documents in this regard, which show the reasons behind the deportation / rejection.
Application Process for US Visa in Canada
The application process for a US Visa in Canada consists of some steps that you have to follow in the correct order. To apply for a US visa in Canada, you will go through these simple steps:
- Check what type of US visa you need.
- Find out where you need to apply.
- Complete the online application form.
- Pay the machine-readable visa (MRV) fee.
- Gather the required documents for a US visa from Canada.
- Make a US visa appointment.
- Attend the visa interview.
Check what type of US visa you need
The US has a wide range of visa types. Therefore, the first thing you should do is to check what type of visa you need to enter the US from Canada. The application process, as well as the fees and required documents depend on the visa type you are applying for.
Check where you need to apply
When applying for a nonimmigrant US Visa from Canada, you will have to lodge your application at the appropriate visa center to which the US embassy has outsourced visa submission for resident of Canada.
On the other side, if you are applying for an immigrant US visa from Canada, then your petitioner (sponsor in the US) will need to submit your application at the National Visa Center in the United States.
Complete the online application form
Complete the appropriate visa application form depending on your visa type. Note that the application forms differ according to the visa type you are applying.
After you correctly fulfill the form, click ‘submit’ and then print the confirmation page. Take this page with you when you attend the interview.
The application form contains questions about personal information as your full name, marital status, address, birth details, contact number and email, passport details, family information, education and work information etc.
There are also a couple of questions on security and background information, which include questions:
- If you have a communicable disease of public health significance such as tuberculosis, a mental or physical disorders
- If you have you ever been a drug abuser or addict, been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, even though subject of a pardon, amnesty, or other similar action, violated, or engaged in a conspiracy to violate, any law relating to controlled substances
Pay the machine readable visa (MRV) fee
After you answer all questions honestly, pay the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) application fee and schedule an interview. You can pay a US visa fee in the following forms:
- Online Payment with Credit/Debit Card
- Online Banking Transfer or Cash at Your Own Bank
The MRV Fee for visa applicants depend on the type of visa one applies for. The schedule is tiered as follows:
- MRV Fee – $160
- Petition Based Applicants (H, L, O, P, Q, R) – $190
- TN visa applicants – $460
*Note that if you are applying for an A, G, or NATO visa for official travel, you do not need to pay the MRV fee.
Collect the required documents for a US visa from Canada
Check what documents you need to submit depending on your visa type and nationality. Then, collect all these documents according to their instructions.
Keep in mind that the whole application process for a US visa depends on these documents. The visa interview is a determinant factor in whether you get a visa or not.
Schedule a US visa appointment
If you are under the age of 14 or over the age of 79 you will not need to show up for an interview. On the other hand, every other applicant from 14 to 79 that applies for a USA visa from Canada have to appear in person at the US consulate or embassy for the US visa interview. Applicants under 14 and over 79 are eligible to apply by a courier.
You can attend your interview at the US Embassy in Ottawa, or at one of the following consulates across Canada:
- US Consulate General in Calgary
- US Consulate General in Halifax
- US Consulate General in Montreal
- US Consulate General in Quebec
- US Consulate General in Toronto
- US Consulate General in Vancouver
- US Consulate in Winnipeg
Attend the visa interview
On the day of your appointment, show up on time, since if you are late your appointment might be cancelled, especially if there is a crowd waiting to get interviewed. Have all your documents with you, and nicely organized so you will not have a mess in your hands when you meet the consular officer.
Before you attend the interview, the embassy / consulate staff will collect, data enter and examine your application documents. You will have your fingerprints scanned, and then you will have a few-minutes-short interview with a consular officer who will ask you about why you wish to enter the US and other questions regarding your trip.
Do Canadian Citizens Need a Visa to Study in the U.S?
Canadians that wish to carry their studies in the US, do not need to obtain a visa. However, they still need to obtain a few documents that must be showed to the US Officer at the port of entry.
These documents are as follows:
- A valid Canadian passport.
- An original I-20 certificate or a DS-2019.
- Evidence of paid SEVIS fee.
- Evidence of financial means to cover expenses in the US (including school fees).
- Proof of strong ties with Canada.
Native Indians Born in Canada Traveling to US
Since the Jay Treaty signed in 1974, the Native Indians born in Canada can freely move from Canada to the US, without the need to obtain a visa first. However, they must be able to show strong evidence that they are at least 50% of the American Indian race.
Such evidence might be:
- an identification card from the Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs
- a written statement from an official of the tribe from which your ancestors originate (which must explicitly state what percentage American Indian blood you or your parents possess, based on official records)
The traveler must also provide other identification documents as:
- driver’s license, or
A Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant travel document, which makes special provisions for First Nation travelers, is also required.