Wednesday, April 23, 2014

International Students in the US - Requirements for Travel to Canada

Canada is an attractive and convenient travel destination for international students in the United States.

Many foreign students in the US take the opportunity to explore North America and experience the exciting cities, vast natural landscapes, and distinct cultures that Canada has to offer.  Before you go, consider these two important factors: 

1- 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 an advisor at your International Student Services Office; 
    • 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.
    • Note: 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 Card (EAC) and your letter of employment/research.  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 six 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.
       
* 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.
 

2- 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 your nearest Canadian Immigration Visa Office.
Washington, D.C.The Canadian Embassy
Immigration Section
501 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.
20001, USA
http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/can-am/menu-en.asp
Detroit, Michigan
Consulate General of Canada
Immigration Section
Suite 1100
600 Renaissance Centre
Detroit, Michigan
48243-1798, USA
http://www.detroit.gc.ca  
Los Angeles, California
Consulate General of Canada
Immigration Section
550 South Hope Street, 9th Floor
Los Angeles, California
90071, USA
http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/los_angeles
New York, New YorkConsulate General of Canada
Immigration Section
1251 Avenue of the Americas
Concourse Level
New York, New York
10020-1175, USA
http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/new_york
Seattle, WashingtonCanadian Consulate General, Seattle
Immigration Section
1501 4th Ave.
Suite 600
Seattle, WA
98101-4328
http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/seattle
 

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.
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