Area of Law: USA Travel and Immigration
Answer # 1033
Visitor B Visa applicationsRegion: Ontario Answer # 1033
Canadian citizens do not require a visa to visit the United States for periods of less than 180 days if visiting for pleasure or permissible B-1 business activities. However, a Canadian citizen requires a B visa if they plan to visit the U.S for longer than 180 days or to receive medical treatment, among others.
Permissible business activities, Visa not required
Examples of permissible B-1 business activities not requiring a visa include:
- Attending meetings to sell products made abroad;
- Meet with local colleagues to report on status of foreign company (or if foreign company is the parent, meeting to review status of U.S. operations);
- Receive training that will assist with position in foreign company;
- Receive technical info/direction from U.S. counterparts;
- Represent foreign company in negotiations with U.S. companies (in addition to sales, this could be strategic agreements, partnerships, or merger discussions);
- Provide aftersales service to products made in Canada provided service is part of original sales contract; and
- Review of accounting/reports or technical data related to the status of the U.S. operations.
To travel as a B-1 without a visa, the visit must be for less than 180 days, and the individual cannot, in any way, be working or providing services in the U.S., or being paid in the U.S.
In addition, professional athletes may travel to the USA on a B-1 visa to compete for prize money; however, they may be responsible to pay USA taxes on any money they win.
Pleasure, Tourism, Medical Treatment – Visitor Visa B-2
Canadians require a visitor B-2 visa if they are travelling to the USA to engage in the following activities:
- vacation, tourism, visiting friends or relatives (staying longer than 180 days),
- to receive medical treatment,
- participation in social events presented by a fraternal, social, or service organization, or
- participation by amateurs who will not receive remuneration in musical, sports and similar events or contests.
Canadians require different types of visas to enter the U.S. to engage in other activities, including to:
- marry a US Citizen
- invest in the US
- study in the US, or to
- obtain permanent residence in the U.S.
More information on the type of visa required to enter the USA for these types of activities can be found in other sections of Legal Line USA Travel and Immigration.
Canadian Permanent residents and people with refugee status in Canada
Permanent residents visiting the USA for business or pleasure, always require a Visitor visa, unless they are visiting for 90 days or less, and are a citizen of a country eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Refugees wishing to travel to the USA must follow the same requirements as permanent residents when travelling to the USA. However, in place of a passport, they must have a Refugee Travel Document. Applications for Refugee Travel Document are made to Passport Canada, and must include proof of status in Canada.
How to apply for a visa
Canadians can apply for a B-1, B-2 or combination B1/B2 visa at the USA Embassy in Ottawa or at any of the six USA Consulate Offices in Canada. Individuals aged 14-79 are generally required to undergo an interview.
To apply for a non-immigrant visa:
- complete form DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application online (includes uploading a photo)
- print the confirmation page to bring to the interview
- make an appointment for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
- pay the non-refundable visa application fee
For more information, visit the USA Department of State website.
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