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Travel to Canada

Living in the U.S. brings many opportunities to travel.  One of those is a visit our northern neighbor Canada.  From Niagara Falls to the Rocky Mountains, Canada offers so many things to see and do.

Please be advised that the information below is subject to change by the Canadian Government at any time.  The Canadian government offers an excellent website, Application for a Temporary Resident Visa to Visit Canada, which will answer many of your questions. Please refer to it.

If you are from a country whose citizens are required to have an entry visa to Canada, you should apply for the visa well ahead of your departure date. You CANNOT apply for the entry visa at the border.   The best advice we can give you is to apply for your visitor visa as far as possible before your planned trip to Canada.

You may apply for a visa by mail or online.  The closest Visa Application Center is in New York City

Since you will be sending important identification documents including your passport and I-20, you should use a trackable method of shipping such as FEDEX, UPS or U.S. Postal Service Express mail. Do NOT use regular mail to send your passport or other immigration documents.

F-1or J-1 student who wish to travel to Canada require a Canadian visitor’s visa unless they are citizens of countries exempt from Canadian nonimmigrant visa requirements

Ensure that all your United States immigration documents are in order so that you will not have any problems returning to the USA.

F-1 Student Visa Holders will require

  • A valid SEVIS Form I-20, signed on Page 3 by the International Center; 
  • A valid F visa stamp in your passport (unless you qualify for Automatic Visa Revalidation*);
  • Evidence of monetary support as listed in Section 8 of the I-20.
  • F-2 Dependents will need their own originals of the first two items.

Note: If you have F-1 Practical Training you will need to carry your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and your letter of employment.  If you are not yet employed, you will need a proof of personal funds.  The travel signature for Post-Graduation Practical Training is valid for a period of 5 months.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa Holders will require

  • A valid DS-2019, signed in the Travel Validation section by a responsible officer of your Exchange Visitor Program;
  • A valid J visa stamp in your passport (unless you qualify for Automatic Visa Revalidation*);
  • Evidence of monetary support as listed in Section 5 of the DS-2019.
  • Note: F-2 Dependents will need their own originals of the first two items.

Depending on your Country of Citizenship, a Biometrics may be required.  You can determine whether you are from a country that is on the Biometrics list by checking here.

* Under the process of Automatic Visa Revalidation, most students can return to the US from Canada on an expired visa stamp, provided that their stay in Canada is no longer than 30 days.  Citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba are not eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation.  These students will need to apply for a new visa stamp at a United States consulate or embassy if their visa stamp will be expired upon re-entry to the US.  

Find out whether you will need a Canada Visitor Visa in order to travel to Canada.

Unless your country of citizenship is among the visa exempt countries, you will need to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  A tourist TRV is generally issued for a period of six months and can be obtained at the Canadian Immigration Visa Office.

Canadian Consulate General
Immigration Section, 22nd Floor
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020-1175
Ph: 212.596.1783
Fax: 212.596.1725

Important Note:  It is not advisable for international students on F or J visas to travel to Canada to obtain a new visa stamp from a United States Consulate.  If you apply for a visa stamp in Canada, you will need to wait until it is approved before you can head back to the US.  If your new visa application is not approved by the US Consulate in Canada, you will not be permitted to reenter the United States and may need to return to your home country directly from Canada.  Only in your home country will you be able to apply for your visa stamp to reenter the US.  You should consult an advisor at your International Student Services Office about this matter.

If you plan to travel in Canada only and for less than 30 days, DO NOT surrender your I-94 card before entering Canada