Canada and the United States have long enjoyed a prosperous relationship as neighbors. The citizens of both countries may cross the border with relative ease. In most cases, a valid U.S. or Canadian passport is sufficient documentation to allow for crossing the border. In other instances, such as when a Canadian citizen is hoping to immigrate to the U.S., a Visa is required. Nonetheless, Canadians can stay in the U.S. for an extended period of time without a Visa.
How Long Can a Canadian Citizen Stay in the U.S. With Just a Passport?
A Canadian citizen may visit the U.S. for up to six months within a 12 month period without a Visa. This means that the Canadian may enter the U.S. for business or pleasure for a total of six months without needing any documentation other than a passport. However, they must leave at the end of the six months, and may not return until an additional six months have elapsed. If it looks like the Canadian citizen is spending much more time in the U.S. than in their homeland, American Customs and Border Patrol agents may grow suspicious that they are trying to emigrate.
The Burden Is on the Canadian Citizen
Canadian citizens must disclose the purpose of their visit to Customs and Border Patrol personnel as they cross the border. Canadians staying in the U.S. may make a request to change or extend their stay before the expiration of their already approved visit. If the visitor has decided that they will live, work or study in the U.S. on a more permanent basis, they must disclose this when they initially cross the border. Moreover, should the U.S. Customs and Border officer feel that the Canadian citizen is spending an inordinate amount of time in America, they may request proof that the Canadian is not a de-facto American citizen. This can be done through the demonstration of permanent ties to Canada. If a Canadian crossing over the border is concerned about getting a suspicious border agent, it may be helpful to have documents proving ongoing Canadian citizenship. A recent paystub, copies of utility bills, a tax return document or documents proving an intended date to return to Canada are all useful. These documents may not be necessary, but bringing them along can help the traveler to prove their intentions on the spot and can smooth the entry process.