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Do Canadian Permanent Residents Require US Visitor Visas to Cross into the US?

If you are a Canadian Permanent resident and not a Canadian citizen, you may require a visa to enter the USA depending on what country you are from. For instance, if you are a Canadian PR from India, you will need to apply for a US Visitor Visa whereas if you are from, say, the UK, you will not. Some countries are subject to the US Visa Waiver Program. If you are from one of these countries, you will not require a US Visitor Visa to enter the US.

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69 Responses to “Do Canadian Permanent Residents Require US Visitor Visas to Cross into the US?”

  1. shazib says:

    Hi, I am from pakistan and I have been living in canada as PR from 2011 and I have manual pakistani passports issued from vancouver office …do I need machine readable passport to apply for tourist visa for US
    Thanks

    • Michael Niren says:

      Hello Shazib

      That is a good question. You will have to inquire about this at the US Embassy in your area about the requirements for passports when apply for US Visas.

  2. David says:

    Hello.
    Im canadian citizen, Born in canada.
    Im going to Asia and have to pass by USA airport (time to change flight (2-3hours))
    Do i need any kind of visa?
    I have a criminal record in canada, do it matter?
    Thanks.

    • Michael Niren says:

      Hello David

      Thank you for your question. Yes if you have a stopover in the USA, you may need a US Waiver. US Waivers however can take around 6 months so you have to plan ahead. In some cases, for certain criminal offences, you may not need a Waiver so it depends on the situation.

      Best
      Michael

  3. Heba says:

    Hi I am an Egyptian citizen and a permanent resident in Canada. Do I need a visa to visit the United States?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Heba,

      Since you are still a citizen of Egypt, which requires a visa to visit the U.S., you need to apply for a U.S. visitor visa to enter the U.S.

      Thank you.

  4. Karen says:

    I am a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago but a permanent resident of Canada. Do I now need a tourist visa to enter the US? I did not need it before because permanent residents who belonged to the British Commonwealth.

    Thanks.

  5. Ghulam says:

    Hi,

    I have Dual Citizenship (Pakistan and Canada).
    My wife and my daughter are also from Pakistan but they are only Canadian permanent residents yet.
    We all want to visit the US. Which visa should my wife and daughter apply for to enter the U.S.?

    Thanks,

    Ghulam

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Ghulam,

      Your wife and daughter should apply for a U.S. Visitor Visa since they are not Canadian citizens yet.

      Thank you.

  6. Rakesh says:

    Hi,

    I am from Nepal. I am a Permanent Resident of Canada. I am trying to visit my relatives in the United States.
    I was wondering what kind of visa I need to apply for, how long it takes to process, and what the process is.

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Rakesh

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Rakesh,

      You have to apply for a U.S. visitor visa. You have to fill out a DS-160 form and book an appointment with the Consulate for an interview. The current wait time for the interview at the Consulate is about two weeks and it takes another two to three weeks to process your visitor visa application.

      Thank you.

  7. Romina says:

    Hi,

    I am a Canadian Permanent Resident and from Argentina. I just want to go to the U.S. to do shopping. Do I still need to apply for any Visa?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Romina,

      You would have to apply for a visitor visa (B-2) for your travel. Even if you are a Canadian Permanent Resident, your country of citizenship, Argentina, does not participate in the Visa Waiver Program.

      Thank you.

  8. Nav says:

    Hi,
    I recently took a trip to India to get married. My wife will be landing in Canada soon. I would like to travel to the U.S. with her. What does she need to do to travel to the U.S.?

    Thank you.

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Nav,

      Your wife, as an Indian citizen, would need to apply for a U.S. Visitor Visa because India does not participate in the Visa Waiver Program.

      Thank you.

  9. maui says:

    I am from the Philippines. I am a Canadian PR. What visa should I apply for in order to enter the U.S.?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Maui,

      It depends on the purpose of your visit. If your visit is for pleasure, you would have to apply for a Visitor Visa (B1/B2).

      Thank you.

      • maui says:

        Hi,

        Thank you for your reply. The purpose of my visit to the U.S. is to visit my fiancee and my brother. How long does it take to process my visa?

        Again, thank you for your kind attention.

        • Alicia Kim says:

          Dear Maui,

          If you are travelling to the U.S. to visit your fiancee and brother, you need to apply for a B2 Visitor Visa. Typically, it takes about four weeks to process Visitor Visas. However, I would recommend that you apply for your B2 visa well in advance to ensure that you get your visa in time.

          Thank you.

  10. kamaldeep says:

    I am a Canadian Permanent Resident and have been living in Canada for 11 years. I need to travel to the U.S. in July.
    Can you please tell me what the visa I should apply for?

    Thank you,
    Kamaldeep

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Kamaldeep,

      It depends on your citizenship. If your country of citizenship participates in the Visa Waiver Program, you do not need a Visitor Visa. However, if your country of citizenship does not participate in the Visa Waiver Program, you would have to apply for a Visitor’s Visa.

      Thank you.

  11. Piers says:

    Hello,
    My wife, a citizen of Peru, just received her Canadian PR. I am Canadian. We would like to travel to the U.S. on a regular basis as we live right on the border. Is there a long term or multiple entry visitor visa?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Piers,

      A visa issued for multiple entries or “M” for multiple/unlimited entries is avaliable and can be used from the date it is issued until the date it expires to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry as many times as your visa states.

      Thank you.

  12. Jennifer says:

    I was arrested for shoplifting and expected to go to court. But due to circumstances I had to return to my country before the court date. For this reason, I was unable to go to court. Is this a serious problem? Do I apply for a Waiver?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      I suggest you consult with an immigration lawyer with all documents you have regarding your offense in order to better assess your situation.

      Thank you.

  13. Robert says:

    Hi,

    I went to the U.S. on a 10 year multiple entry Visitor Visa. Then, I transferred my status to a student (F1) and overstayed in the U.S. After this, I got my Canadian PR then moved to Canada. Can I visit the U.S.?

    Robert

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Robert,

      If you have overstayed in the U.S., you are considered to have violated legal status. The F-1 entry visa stamp is automatically void and it may be extremely difficult to obtain future entry visas to enter the U.S. I suggest you consult an immigration lawyer with more detailed information to see what options you have at this point.

      Thank you.

  14. Jennifer says:

    I am from Jamaica. I went to work in the U.S. and was arrested for shoplifting.
    Will this go on my criminal record and will I now become inadmissible to the U.S?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      If you were arrested and convicted of shoplifting, that will go on your criminal record. Once you are convicted, you will be inadmissible to the U.S.

      Thank you.

  15. Alie says:

    Hi,

    I am a Canadian Permanent Resident, but have not yet moved to Canada. I am planning on leaving my home country, Israel, but wish to spend two weeks in the States to visit my family before arriving in Canada.

    Since I will be in transition (having left Israel, and planning on settling in Canada, but not having settled yet) what ties do I need to show the U.S. government that I don’t plan on staying in the U.S. and my visit is only temporary.

    Thank you.

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Alie,

      Do you have any immediate family member, property, investment, social membership, or bank accounts still remaining in Israel? If so, you may includes these in your Visitor Visa application. Otherwise, you should clearly explain the circumstances you are in – i.e. You have just become a Canadian PR, had to sever ties to Israel to start a new life in Canada, and intend to settle in Canada after your short visit to the U.S. Under these circumstances, it might be a good idea to have an immigration lawyer to prepare a persuasive application package for you.

      Hope this help.

  16. Manu says:

    Dear Kim,

    I am an Indian citizen and a Canadian PR. I have not established strong ties to Canada yet. I have more ties to Inida. I would like to apply for a U.S. visitor’s visa from Canada. Is it possible?

    Thank you.

    Manu

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Manu,

      To qualify for a U.S. Visitor’s Visa, you have to demonstrate that you plan to remain in the U.S. for a limited period only and that you have compelling social and economic ties abroad. Your ties abroad do not have to be limited to Canada. As long as you demonstrate that you have a residence outside the U.S. as well as binding ties to India that will ensure your return to India at the end of the visit, this would suffice.

      Thank you.

  17. Lynette says:

    Hi,

    I’m from Malaysia. I’m a Canadian PR. Do I need to apply for a visa in order to enter the U.S.?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Lynette,

      If you are a Canadian Permanent Resident and from Malaysia, you should apply for a visa to enter the U.S. For example, if you wish to visit the U.S., you need to apply for a Visitor’s Visa (B2).

      Thank you.

  18. irai says:

    Hi,

    I am from Brazil. I am a Canadian permanent resident. What visa should I apply for in order to cross the U.S.?

    Thank you.

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Irai,

      You need to apply for a U.S. Visitor Visa since you are not a Canadian citizen yet and Brazil does not participate in the Visa Waiver Program.

      Thank you.

  19. Sam says:

    My PR card has expired and I’m in the Philippines. I need to apply for a travel document to come back to Canada. However, I am 90 days short of meeting my residency requirement as I attended school in the Philippines. Can I still renew my PR or apply for a Travel Document?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Sam,

      For Canadian PRs who have met their residency obligations, a Travel Document will most likely be issued. However, since you have not met the residency requirement, you should try Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) arguments to apply for both a Travel Document and PR Renewal. Our office often prepares H&C applications for clients who have not met their residency obligation due to education, employment, or family emergencies outside Canada.

      Since H&C applications are highly discretionary and therefore require you to prepare a persuasive and convincing application, it is always a good idea to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer.

      Thank you.

  20. MARIA says:

    I am Maria. I am from Chile. I am a Permanent Resident in Canada and my husband and my son are Canadian citizens.

    We want to travel to the U.S. Do I need to apply for a B1 visa?

    Thanks,

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Maria,

      If you are only a Permanent Resident, you would have to apply for a U.S. visitor visa as Chile does not participate in the Visa Waiver Program.

      Thank you.

  21. Daniel says:

    Hi,

    I am a dual citizen (Colombian and Canadian). But, my uncle and his family members are just Canadian PRs. We live in Vancouver. Can they still cross the border to the U.S. to travel? If so, what visa do we need to apply?

    Thank you for your time and patience.

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Daniel,

      Since Colombia is not participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), your uncle and his family need to apply for a B visitor visa. They should apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate responsible for their area (in the place of their permanent residence).

      Thank you.

  22. ricardo says:

    I lived illegally in the U.S. for two years then I moved to Canada and became a permanent resident now. I married in the U.S. in 2005 and now want to visit my wife there. What visa should I apply for? Would there be a problem because I overstayed in the past?

    Thanks for your answer.

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Ricardo,

      If you overstayed in the U.S., you will likely be inadmissible to the U.S. You would have to apply for a Waiver to overcome inadmissibility and depending on where you are from you may also have to apply for a Visitor’s Visa to the U.S.

      Thank you.

  23. Rafiq says:

    Hello

    I would like to know what kind of visa I would need to work in the USA as a Canadian citizen (towards which I am currently working). And what difficulties might I face working in the USA as a Canadian citizen?
    Thanks

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Rafiq,

      It depends on what type of work you will be performing in the U.S. Please advise on the type of employment you will be pursuing in the U.S.

      Thank you.

  24. beth santos says:

    Hi,

    I am from the Phillipines livingi n Vancouver. My application for permanent residence is still being processed. I want to travel to the U.S. and visit my friend there. What do I need to do before leaving for the U.S.?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Beth,

      You should wait until you have your PR card. However, if you must leave Canada, you would have to apply for a Travel Document from a Canadian visa office abroad.

      If you show that you have resided in Canada for at least two years in the five year period, than the Canadian office abroad will most likely issue you the Travel Document

      Thank you.

  25. Amina says:

    Hi

    I am from Lybia and a Permanent Resident in Canada. I was a student in America 3 years ago and got married there. My husbend is Libyan too. I had to leave at the end of my authroized period with my kids. I am now in Lybia and want to visit my husband in the U.S. Which visa should I apply for?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Amina,

      You can apply for a B2 Visitor Visa to visit your husband in the U.S. If your kids were born in the U.S. they don’t have to apply for a visa.

      Thank you.

  26. manny says:

    I am an Indian citizen and a Canadian permanent resident. I once worked in the U.S. on an H1b visa, but ended up overstaying in the U.S. for seven months.Then, I got Canadian PR after 8 months I returned to India. It has been almost 13 months since I came to Canada and 21 months since I left the U.S. Can I still apply for a BI/B2 or any other visa to visit the U.S.?

    Regards,

    manny brar

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Manny,

      You should apply for a B1/B2 visa to visit the U.S. since you are not a Canadian citizen yet. Also, you would have to apply for a Waiver together with your B1/B2 visa to overcome your inadmissibility.

      Since there is a lot of discretion involved on the part of the immigration officer reviewing your Waiver application, it is recommended that you consult a qualified immigration lawyer to prepare a persuasive application package. Waiver applications typically include a statement explaining the circumstances surrounding your overstay, your ties to Canada, and character reference letters.

      Please make sure to begin your application processs well in advance as it may take up to 9 months for a Waiver application to process.

      Hope this helps.

  27. Navjeet says:

    Hi,

    I am an Indian citizen and a Canadian Permanent Resident. I am currently in Dubai, but would like to visit the U.S. when I get back to Canada. Where should I apply for a visa and what visa do I need to apply for?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Navjeet,

      Please advise me as to the purpose of your visit to the U.S.

      Thank you.

      • Navjeet says:

        Hey Alicia,

        My purpose is just tourism to visit my friends in NY.

        Thank you

        • Alicia Kim says:

          Dear Navjeet,

          In that case, you would need to apply for a B2 visa. Applicants for visitor visas should apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate responsible for your area (preferably in the country of your permanent residence).

          Please note that since visa applications are now subject to a greater degree of review than in the past, it is important to apply for your visa well in advance of your travel departure date.

          Thank you.

  28. Mona says:

    I am a Guyanese Citizen an a Canadian Permanent Resident. I would like to go to the U.S. to attend a wedding. Should I apply for a visa to make a travel for this occasion?

  29. Vivek says:

    Hi,

    Can Canadian PRs work for a business in the U.S. (i.e registered as a Canadian company having its subsidiary in the U.S. and continues to be paid out of Canada but having customers and staff in both countries)?
    Can the person freely travel for customer meetings?

    Best,
    Vivek

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Vivek,

      As long as your business is incorporated under the laws of Canada or is an enterprise that has an ongoing operation in Canada, is capable of generating revenue, or in which a majority of voting or ownership interests is held by Canadian citizens or permanent residents, your business will qualify as a Canadian business.

      Please note that you may count each day you worked outside Canada for a Canadian business.

      Since you are not a Canadian citizen, depending on where you are from, you may still need to apply for a U.S. Visitor Visa to cross the border.

      Hope this helps.

  30. nitin says:

    Hi,

    I am originally from India, but a Canadian Permanent Resident.

    I want to visit my uncle in the U.S. What visa should I apply for in order to visit him in the U.S.?
    What are the requirements?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Nitin,

      You need to apply for a U.S. Visitor Visa. You need to demonstrate the purpose and duration of your trip to the U.S., evidence of funds to cover expenses, evidence of compelling social and economic ties to India or Canada and the fact that you have a residence outside the U.S. to return to at the end of the visit.

      Thank you.

      • taimoor says:

        Hi,

        I am from Pakistan. I am a Canadian Permanent Resident.
        I want to visit New York as a tourist with my wife. She is a Canadian citizen. Which visa i required for me?

        Thanks.

        • Alicia Kim says:

          Dear Taimoor,

          Since Pakistan, your country of citizenship, does not participate in the Visa Waiver Program, you would have to apply for a Visitor Visa to visit the U.S. for pleasure.

          Thank you.

  31. selva says:

    I am an Indian citizen and Canadian permanent resident. I understand that I need a tourist visa to travel to United States. I have a Business meeting to attend in July in AT. What visa do I need? What documents are required?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Selva,

      You need to apply for a B1 visa. A B1 visa status is granted for a temporary period. You need to demonstrate your ties to Canada (i.e. your bank account or property in Canada), evidence of your close family members in Canada and any documents proving your business meeting in the U.S.

      Thank you.

  32. Ruth Taylor-Cox says:

    Does a Jamaican permanent resident of Canada require a visitor visa to enter the United States? If so, how does one apply for this visa?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Ruth Taylor-Cox,

      As a Jamaican citizen, you would have to apply for a B-2 visa if you are visiting the U.S. for pleasure. If you are a permenant resident of Canada, you may apply for your visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate responsible for your area.

      Hope this helps.

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