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December 21, 2022

Cross-Border Update

Q4, 2022—"Holiday Travel Tips for Canadian Visitors to the United States"

The holiday season is upon us, and traffic numbers and wait times are expected to increase at the border. It’s important to keep a few tips in mind that might make traveling to the United States easier.

B-2 Visitor Status

Canadian citizens with travel plans to the United States for vacation or to visit family and friends for a short period of time will be admitted in B-2 visitor status. Typically, visitors are granted a six-month default period of stay in B-2 status at the time of entry to the United States. 

A visitor must confirm their intent to return to Canada at the end of their stay. A visitor must be able to prove they do not intend to stay in the United States permanently and that they have a “greater connection” to Canada than to the United States, as demonstrated by property holdings, financial ties, employment, and family remaining in Canada. A US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer can restrict the length of admission requested or deny admission altogether if the officer feels the traveler is not entering for permissible visitor purposes. 

A visitor who indicates intent to work in the United States without authorization will not be admitted.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
A non-US citizen who is a nonimmigrant (including Canadian visitors or those with valid visas and work-authorized status) must be fully vaccinated before entering the United States and be ready to provide proof of vaccination upon request at the time of entry. The vaccine requirement does not apply to United States citizens or lawful permanent residents (green card holders) reentering the United States. 

General Travel Tips

  • Utilize the appropriate travel document (e.g., a passport, US passport card, enhanced driver’s license).
  • Plan ahead by checking border wait times and give yourself extra time. Check traffic conditions at the border crossings within your region and select the crossing that is least congested. Travelers can download CBP’s Border Wait Time app to their mobile devices to check crossing traffic conditions. Travelers can also obtain traffic conditions at www.cbp.gov/travel/advisories-wait-times.
  • If possible, travel across the border during nonpeak travel times. Peak travel times generally tend to be between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. If you are able, leaving the night before is one way to avoid peak-time traffic delays.
  • Prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Have your travel documents in hand, roll down the vehicle windows and remove hats and sunglasses before entering the inspection area.
  • Travelers arriving or departing from air, sea, or land ports of entry are encouraged to opt in to using Simplified Arrival or Mobile Passport Control, which can make the inspection process touchless and more expedient with the use of facial comparison technology. 
  • Note that documented non-US citizens may apply for and manage their I-94s through the CBP One app, which serves as a single portal for individuals to access CBP mobile applications and services.

Bringing Gifts and Goods Into the United States

  • Avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of restricted or prohibited items. There are numerous agricultural restrictions on fruits, meats, and plants. Before bringing these items, check the CBP website about bringing these products into the United States. If you decide to take your chances and bring it with you, be certain to declare it, and be willing to surrender it if it turns out to be prohibited.
  • Remember, cannabis remains federally illegal in the United States. Do not cross the border with any cannabis or cannabis products.
  • Declare your goods. Travelers should declare all items being brought from abroad that will remain in the United States. This includes gifts and duty-free purchases.

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more, please contact one of Barclay Damon’s Immigration Practice Area attorneys.

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