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Canadians travelling to the U.S. during Covid: Q&A

By August 17, 2020March 29th, 2021COVID-19

I am a Canadian national. Can I cross the U.S./Canada land border?

No.  The joint U.S.-Canada initiative that was first implemented on March 21, 2020 for 30 days and has since been extended (most recently to August 20) restricts all non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canada via its land border (including by ferry or commuter rail). Essential travel via the land border was not affected by the initiative.

What is essential travel?

Essential travel does not include tourism or travel that is recreational in nature (for example, sightseeing). However essential travel does include, for example:

  • travel for work (agricultural workers)
  • travel to attend school
  • travel to provide critical infrastructure support
  • travel to receive medical treatment in the U.S.
  • travel of individuals engaged in official government or diplomatic travel

Additionally, the supply chain industry and the trucking industry are not affected by the U.S./Canada initiative and are considered to be essential.

Can I enter the U.S. if I will be flying?

Yes. The restrictions imposed by the U.S.-Canada initiative described above does not apply to you if you will be entering the U.S. via air, rail, or sea (however, it does apply to those entering by ferry or commuter rail). Therefore, if you will be flying to the U.S., the joint initiative restrictions do not apply to you.

I need to apply for a visa. Are the U.S. consulates in Canada processing visa applications?

No. The U.S. consulates in Canada have not yet resumed routine visa processing.  While you may submit your application to the consulate (for example, for an E-1 or E-2 visa), as of now the consulate is not conducting regular visa interviews.

Please note that all U.S. consulates are providing emergency and mission-critical visa interviews.

Are there any updates on when U.S. consulates will resume processing visa applications?

No. In July 2020, the Department of State announced that the resumption of visa services will happen on a post-by-post basis. The U.S. consulates in Canada, for example, have not indicated when the regular visa processing will resume.

Please see our blog post on travelling to the U.S. from Europe during Covid-19 by clicking here.

Please click here to find out more about the National Interest Exception.

Please see our blog post on whether the Presidential proclamation regarding issuance of new H and L visas applies to Canadians when you click here.

Please click here to read our blog post on whether Canadians need a non-immigrant visa stamp in their passport when applying for an E-1/E-2 visa.

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