As a US green card holder, you may wonder about your travel possibilities to neighboring countries such as Canada. The question often comes up: Can US green card holders travel to Canada?
In this article, you will learn whether US permanent residents can enter Canada without a visa. We will look into documentation, exceptions, and any additional questions related to traveling to Canada as a US green card holder.
Can US green card holders travel to Canada?
Yes, US green card holders can travel to Canada without a visa. However, lawful permanent residents of the US must present the following documents when entering Canada by air, land or sea.
- A valid passport from their country of nationality and
- A valid green card (or its equivalent valid proof)
Those not holding any of the above documents must apply for a Canadian visa or Canada ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization).
Canada entry requirements for US permanent residents
US and Canada share one of the largest borders in the world, stretching about 8,891 kms. Due to their shared history and geography, the two countries work together on multiple levels.
US and Canada share a close and extensive bilateral relationship. This relationship has paved the way for liberal immigration exemptions for Canadians, US citizens and US permanent residents.
US permanent residents enjoy visa-free travel to Canada due to the close US-Canada relations. Irrespective of your nationality, US permanent residents can travel to Canada without requiring a Canada visa or Canada ETA.
That being said, as a permanent resident in the US, you cannot work or live in Canada. You would need an appropriate visa for that. Moreover, if you spent more than one year outside the US, you risk losing your permanent resident status in the US. If you intend to stay longer than a year in Canada, you must obtain a re-entry permit from USCIS before leaving the US.
Documents to carry when traveling to Canada as a green card holder
You must carry the following documents when traveling to Canada as a lawful permanent resident of the US.
1. A valid passport from the country of nationality
As a US green card holder, you are not a US citizen yet. You do not hold a US passport. Therefore, you must hold a valid passport from your home country.
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of entering Canada.
2. A valid green card (or its equivalent valid proof)
When traveling to Canada, you need official proof of status as a lawful permanent resident of the US. The following are the acceptable status documents:
- A valid permanent resident card (also referred to as a green card or Form I-551)
- A valid foreign passport with an ADIT stamp (proof of unexpired temporary I-551)
- A valid foreign passport with the notation “Upon endorsement serves as temporary I-551 evidencing permanent residence for 1 year” on a US machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV) with an admission stamp from US CBP.
- An expired permanent resident card with Form I-797 (notice of action) for pending Form I-751 (to remove conditions on residence) or Form I-829 (to remove conditions on residence for an investor).
- An expired permanent resident card (Form I-551) with Form I-797 (notice of action) for pending Form I-90 (to replace permanent resident card)
- A valid re-entry permit (Form I-327)
- A valid Form I-94 with an ADIT stamp (proof of unexpired temporary I-551) and a passport photo
Presenting your documents when entering Canada as a green card holder
The airline staff or the immigration officer may ask for your proof of status in the US. This is to confirm your valid status as a lawful permanent resident in the US.
As a lawful permanent resident, you must present your green card (or its equivalent) when asked by the airline staff or the Canadian border services officer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can green card holder travel via Canada?
Yes. Green card holders can transit via Canadian airports. But you must present your valid US green card and valid passport.
How long can US green card holder stay in Canada?
US green card holders can stay 180 days in Canada as a tourist or to visit family or friends. To stay longer than 180 days, you must apply for an extension.
That being said, keep in mind that you cannot stay more than a year outside the US to keep your legal status in the US. If you stay more than a year outside the US, you will lose your permanent resident status in the US.
Do I need an eTA for Canada if I have a US green card?
No. As of April 26, 2022, an eTA for Canada is not required for US green card holders.
Lawful permanent residents of the US can travel to Canada by presenting their valid foreign passport and permanent resident status.
What do green card holders need to go to Canada?
Permanent residents of the US need the following documents to travel to Canada.
(1) A valid foreign passport or its equivalent document
(2) A valid green card or its equivalent proof of status in the US
In summary, US green card holders can travel to Canada, provided they have the necessary documentation and meet the relevant entry requirements. It is essential to carry your valid foreign passport and proof of lawful permanent residence status in the US such as a green card.