It is important to have a basic understanding of procedures and requirements for entering the US so that you are not turned away at the border
More information about the process
Canadian citizens do not require a visa to travel to the US for business and pleasure. To do so, a Canadian citizen must present a valid Canadian passport, NEXUS Card, enhanced driver’s license, or enhanced identification card (the latter can only be used to enter the US by land or water). Minor Canadians 15 and under can present their birth certificate in lieu of a passport, although airlines generally require a passport or NEXUS, regardless of age. Unless a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer specifically grants less time, Canadians are allowed to enter the US for 180 days provided that they do not otherwise violate the terms of their stay (e.g., working, committing a crime).
When entering the US, it is important to declare any items you are bringing with you, including food, alcohol, animals (even pets), and funds greater than $10,000.
Failure to disclose these items can result in fines, penalties, and even the inability to enter the US in the future. It is also important to understand that while marijuana will soon be legal in Canada, it is not legal in the US, and you cannot have any on your person or in your vehicle when entering into the US. This will be considered a serious offence.
Certain criminal convictions, even for minor incidents, can prevent Canadians from entering the US. If you have any convictions, you should speak with an immigration attorney before attempting to enter the US.
Frequently asked questions about US Border Crossing Issues
1. How do I apply for NEXUS?
You must complete the online registration and appear in person at a designated CBP facility to interview and have your fingerprints taken before the application can be finalized.
2. I was denied entry into the US. What now?
It depends on the reason for the denial. The solution may be as simple as trying again, or it may require a waiver to be approved before you could try to enter again. You can also inquiry through the Traveler Redress Program.
3. What happens if I stay longer than 180 days?
Staying longer than the time allowed can result in a bar on entry into the US, for any reason, for up to 10 years. In order to lift this bar earlier, you would need to file a waiver that would have to be approved before you could re-enter.
4. I’m a permanent resident of Canada, do I need a visa to enter the US?
It depends. If you are a citizen of a country that participates in the visa waiver program, you generally can enter on the ESTA program without a visa, but your stay would be limited to a maximum of 90 days. If your home country is not on the visa waiver list, and in certain other situation, you would need a visa to enter.
5. Can CBP search my car, phone, and other items I am traveling with into the US?
Yes, CBP has the authority to search your car, your possessions (including electronics), and your person in making their decision on your admissibility into the US.
Why should you hire Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell to represent you?
Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell LLP is one of Canada’s largest and most established immigration law firms. We work with individuals, families, and businesses across the globe to resolve all types of Canadian and U.S. immigration issues. Regardless of how large or small your immigration problems may be, our firm is here to help you at every step of the way. Please contact our office to speak with one of our qualified US Immigration Attorneys to discuss your options for an employment based green card.
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