As brilliant as Canada is, it is likely that you are going to want to hop over the border to the USA from time to time. This may be for a spot of shopping, it may be to head to the wonderful Vegas, or maybe just take a holiday in one of the many national parks. Now, you are a Canadian. This means that you are 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 first.

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 intended 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 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 what your purpose for travelling to the United States is. Be as honest as you can here. If you do not disclose the right information i.e. you say you are going to the USA 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. It only applies to crimes of moral turpitude. This means murder, theft, rape, assault and battery, fraud etc. Do note that the Americans are 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.

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