Things may be a bit crazy south of the border right now and brilliant as Canada is, you may still want to hop over the border to the USA from time to time. Whether its to do a bit of shopping, a road trip to Vegas, or just to take a holiday in any of a million places if you are a Canadian citizen give the whole article a read. Canadian citizens are (all things considered) incredibly lucky insofar as the fact that crossing the border shouldn’t be too tricky. However, there are a few things that you will need to know.
You are going to need to present some ID when you cross the border into America. Unlike other countries, you will not require a VISA to enter the United States (there are a few exceptions to this rule, which we will discuss later). You will need one of the following:
- Valid passport
- Enhanced driver’s license
- Trusted Traveler Program card. The only ones that you can cross the border with are FAST, SENTRI or NEXUS.
There are some Canadians who may require a VISA in order to travel to the United States. For example, if you are an investor looking to invest in the US, you will need to go through the VISA process. If you are intending to stay in the USA as an immigrant, you will need one too. Generally speaking though, most people are not going to need one.
If you are a Native American born in Canada, or Members of Canada’s First Nations, you may be able to cross the border freely whenever you wish. You will need to carry out further research on this though as it can be a pretty complicated process.
Most Canadians will be able to stay in the United States, as a visitor, for up to six months at a time. If you wish to stay longer than this, you will need to apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
When you cross the border, it is likely that you will be asked why you are travelling to the United States. Be as honest as you can here. If you do not disclose the right information i.e. you say you are going on vacation but instead stay to study, you will be banned from the United States permanently.
Canadians who have been deported or removed from the United States in previous years may not be able to cross the border. Canadians who have a criminal record may also be unable to cross the border. Not all crimes will prevent you from crossing the border though, it generally only applies to crimes of moral turpitude, basically murder, theft, rape, assault and battery, fraud, drug convictions, that type of thing. Do remember that American border agents are usually a bit stricter than the Canadian border control. You may still be able to gain access to the US when you have a criminal record, but the record will be scrutinized.
If you believe that you are inadmissible due to a crime you have committed in the past, you can apply to the Customs and Border Protection who may be able to give you a waiver which allows you to pass through unhindered. However, do note that this is a costly process and it may take up to a year.