United States Visitor Visa

If you are going to visit the United States of America during your stay in Canada, you may require a United States (U.S.) Visitor Visa depending on your country of citizenship.  For more information about travelling to the U.S., see the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (PDF).

Visitors to the U.S. from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries do not need a U.S. Visitor Visa, however a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is required. As of April 1, 2016, if you are from a VWP country, you must also have an e-Passport to enter the U.S. unless you have a valid non-immigrant visa. 

If you hold a passport issued by People's Republic of China, and hold a valid B1, B2, or B1/B2 U.S. visitor visa, you must also have a valid enrolment in the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) to travel to the United States.

Applying for a U.S. Visitor Visa

We suggest that you apply for a U.S. Visitor Visa through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate serving your home country prior to coming to Canada.

If you are in Canada, you can apply through the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto, Ontario. It is recommended that you wait until you have been in Canada for 6 months or more before you apply for your visa.

Application instructions

To apply for a U.S. Visitor Visa, you will need to take the following steps:

  1. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months.
  2. Complete the DS-160: Non-immigrant visa application.
  3. Pay the application fee. In addition, citizens from certain countries may be charged a reciprocity fee.
  4. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview. Please pay close attention to the passport delivery instructions.
  5. Collect your supporting documents to bring to the visa interview:
  • Official letter from the university confirming registration for current term and past academic terms, duration of degree program, and anticipated completion date
  • Official transcript in a sealed envelope from the university
  • Visa photo taken within the last 6 months
  • Your current resume/curriculum vitae, a description of your past and current research, and a list of your scientific publications, if you are a graduate student in a STEM discipline
  • Original copy of your current study permit
  • Your passport

Please note that you may need to provide additional supporting documents.

After visiting the U.S.

When you re-enter Canada from the U.S. (or St. Pierre-et-Miquelon or Greenland), you require a valid passport, study permit, and Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) (if applicable). 

If you are travelling from Canada, solely to the United States, and back to Canada, not entering any other country, there is a TRV exemption policy R190(3)(f) in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.  If you are travelling by air, we strongly recommend that you have a valid TRV.

If you are studying in Canada for less than six months and do not have a study permit, you will require proof that your temporary resident status in Canada is current. The stamp in your passport allows you to stay in Canada until the date written, or if no date is written, up to six months from date of entry. Provided your stamp is still valid, you can re-enter Canada without additional approval. However, if you visited another country on the same trip (Mexico, for example), you may require the TRV or eTA depending on your country of citizenship.

Returning your I-94 card

Travelling by road:

You will be given a white or green I-94 card when you enter the U.S. by road. When you leave the U.S., it is important to return your I-94 card to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer so that your departure is recorded. If you are returning to the U.S. within 30 days of last entry into Canada, you can use the same I-94 card if it was not returned to the CBP and it is still valid. If a CBP officer does not collect your I-94 card, mail the card and proof of departure using the U.S. CBP postal and documentation instructions.

Travelling by air: 

I-94 cards are no longer issued for travel by air or sea as the travel information is collected electronically.  If you travel by road into the U.S. and travel by air out of the U.S., your card will be collected at the airport. If it is not collected, you should keep your boarding pass to show the immigration officer on your next visit to the U.S. This will prove that you left the country after your last visit.