The right answer will depend on if you are a Canadian PR or a Canadian citizen. In clear terms, if you are a Canadian citizen, you won’t need a visa for the USA unless you intend to enter the country to work, study, invest or immigrate.

Canadian citizens are only required to carry a valid Canadian passport to gain entry into the US or even transit through the country to another place. However, Canadian permanent residents are expected to apply and obtain a non-immigrant visa to gain entry into the US.

As a permanent resident of Canada, you will have to obtain a visa from the American authorities before you can be allowed into the US. To ensure you meet up and do not miss any deadlines, you must apply well ahead of the time you plan to travel.

To apply for a non-immigrant visa as a permanent resident in Canada, you will be expected to have a valid passport from your country of citizenship. If you are a citizen of a country with a visa waiver agreement, you may not be required to obtain a visa to enter the US. Currently, 40 countries are participating in the US Visa Waiver Program.

Canadian Citizens That Need a Visa for the USA

Just as was noted above, citizens do not need any form of visa to enter the United States, either from Canada or from other countries. However, Canadian citizens will need a visa for the USA in the following cases;

  1. Treaty traders and investors (requires E Visa);
  2. Foreign citizen fiancée (K-1 Visa), coupled with the fiancé’s children (K-2 Visa);
  3. A U.S. citizen’s foreign citizen spouse moving to stay in the U.S. while awaiting completion of the process of immigration (K-3 Visa), coupled with the spouse’s children (K-4 Visa);
  4. Spouses of lawful permanent residents (V-1 Visas), coupled with the spouse’s children who are traveling to reside in the U.S. while awaiting completion of the process of immigration (V-2 Visas);
    • Non-immigrants moving to the United States for work (Non-Immigrant Visas), including:
    • Canadian government officials (A Visas), if going into the U.S. for temporary or permanent assignment;
    • Officials and employees of international organizations (G Visas), if going into the U.S. for temporary or permanent assignment; and
    • NATO officials, representatives, and employees, only if they are being assigned to the U.S. (as opposed to an official trip).

How to Apply for US Visa from Canada

As a permanent resident in Canada, there are necessary steps you need to take to apply for a visa to the US. These steps include;

  1. Verify the type of US visa you need

The first thing to do when looking to gain entry into the US from Canada is to know the exact type of visa you need. There are numerous visa options available to those in Canada who are not Canadian Citizens. Take your time to know the visa you need and ensure you are eligible. Also make sure you understand the application process, coupled with the fees and required documents you need to apply with.

  1. Know where you need to apply

When you are looking to apply for a non-immigrant US Visa from Canada, you must submit your application at the appropriate visa center approved by the US embassy. If you are applying for an immigrant US visa from Canada, then your petitioner (sponsor in the US) will have to submit your application at the National Visa Center in the United States.

  1. Fill out the online application form

You will be expected to complete the appropriate visa application form and this will depend on the visa type you seek. Application forms differ according to the visa type you are applying for. Most often, they contain questions about personal information such as your full name, marital status, address, birth details, contact number and email, passport details, family information, education, work information, etc.

  1. Pay the US Visa Fee Online in Canada

Once you are done providing honest and correct answers to all the questions in your application, you will have to pay the US Visa Fee Online and schedule an interview.

Note that you can pay a US visa fee in Canada online with a Credit/Debit Card, via Online Banking Transfer or Cash at Your Own Bank, or even with Cash at the right visa center. The fee you will be expected to pay will depend on the type of US visa you choose to apply for. The US Visa Fee in Canada is as follows:

  • MRV Fee – $160
  • Petition Based Applicants (H, L, O, P, Q, R) – $190
  • TN visa applicants – $460
  1. Gather the necessary documents

At this point, you must start gathering all the necessary documents you need for your application. The exact documents you need to submit will vary depending on the US visa you are applying for and your nationality. Every visa program comes with its requirements and you must meet them to be granted entry into the country.

Collect all these documents according to their instructions. Don’t forget that the whole application process for a US visa depends on these documents. Basic documents you will need to apply for a US visa in Canada include:

  • Appointment confirmation page.
  • Confirmation page that you have filled the application form DS-160
  • Valid Passport
  • Two identical US visa photos – of 5 x 5 cm size, color, and taken within the last 6 months. Applicants who have successfully uploaded a picture to the DS-160 application form are no longer required to submit an additional photo.
  • Previous US visas (if applicable)
  • ACRO – Also known as a police certificate and you will be expected to obtain it from the authorities in your province.
  • Letter from an approved physician
  • Letter of invitation for B-2 visa applicants
  • If you have ever been denied entry into the US or deported from the country, you must also submit documents in this regard
  1. Schedule a US visa appointment in Canada

Have it in mind that applicants below the age of 14 or over the age of 79 are not expected to show up for an interview. However, any other applicant from 14 to 79 seeking to gain entry into the USA from Canada will have to appear in person at the US consulate or embassy for the US visa interview. Applicants under 14 and over 79 are eligible to apply by a Courier. Consulates in Canada where you can go for your visa interview include:

  • US Consulate General in Calgary
  • US Consulate General in Halifax
  • US Consulate General in Montreal
  • US Consulate General in Quebec
  • US Consulate General in Toronto
  • US Consulate General in Vancouver
  • US Consulate in Winnipeg
  1. Attend the US visa interview in Canada

First and foremost, endeavor to show up on time because if you are late, your appointment might get canceled. Make sure to come with your documents, and also arrange them properly to avoid confusion and looking untidy. Also note that the embassy/consulate staff will collect, enter and examine your application documents.

You will have your fingerprints scanned, and then you will have a short interview with a consular officer who will want to know your reason for wanting to enter the US and other questions about your trip.


Just as was noted above, Canadian citizens do not need a visa to enter the US for non-immigrant purposes, but permanent residents in the country do. Canadian and Bermudian citizens are the only nationals in the world permitted to enter the US for non-immigrant purposes without an ESTA.

However, you should check with United States (US) authorities before you try to gain entry into the US. Note that only American officials can give authentic information on visa requirements to travel to the US.