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TRAVELING TO CANADA

If you are in F-1 or J-1 status and planning a trip to Canada there are several things you should do before you leave the United States. For example:

  • Have the back of your Form I-20, for F-1 visa holders, or DS-2019, for J-1 visa holders signed for re-entry to the U.S. by an ISS advisor

  • Determine whether your U.S. entry visa is still valid or if it has expired

  • Determine whether you need a Canadian entry visa

This handout will help you get ready for your trip to Canada and your return to the United States. Please read it carefully. If you have any question, please ask an ISS advisor.

How can I obtain a signature on my I-20 or DS-2019 for travel and re-entry?
All F-1 and J-1 visa holders must have their I-20's or DS-2019's signed by an ISS advisor in order to re-enter the U.S. We generally recommend that you have your I-20 or DS-2019 signed the semester you are traveling; however, if you are from a country that requires you to have a Canadian entry visa, the Canadian government requires that your signature for travel must be less than three months old and the signature must be obtained prior to your Canadian visa application.

Please bring your I-20 to the ISS at least two working days before your departure date. Two working days is necessary for I-20 and DS-2019 endorsements because the process requires a considerable amount of staff time, especially during busy periods when many SIUE international students are traveling at the same time (such as at the end of each semester and prior to vacation periods). In order to endorse your I-20 or DS-2019, we must certify the following information:

  • That your academic progress (G.P.A.) is satisfactory;

  • That you have been a full-time student;

  • That you are in legal F-1 or J-1 status; and

Your request for endorsement may be delayed or denied in any of the following cases:

  • If you are registered as a part-time student without ISS approval;

  • If you are on academic warning or suspension; or

  • If the completion date in item 5 of your I-20 has expired.

If any of the above situations applies to you, see an ISS advisor. You may need to submit additional financial documentation from your sponsor and obtain a new I-20 for re-entry.

Is your visa still valid?Most students/scholars may travel as a tourist to Canada (and Mexico and the islands near the U.S. except for Cuba) and return to the U.S. with an expired U.S. entry visa, as long as the time abroad is less than 30 days. This is a convenient benefit, called "automatic visa revalidation." However, please be aware that the U.S. Department of State has eliminated this benefit for some foreigners, effective April 1, 2002. Any student/scholar who applies for a U.S. visa in Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands is no longer eligible for the "automatic revalidation" benefit. Also, citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba are no longer eligible for this benefit.

Do you need a Canadian entry visa?
Canada requires citizens of specific countries to have a Canadian entry visa. To see if this is required of the citizens of your country, please refer to the attached list of countries. If your country is not on this list you will be issued a temporary tourist visa upon entering Canada.
How can I obtain a Canadian entry visa?
If you need a Canadian visa, you can apply for it in person or by mail. You will need to show the Embassy the following documents:

  • A valid passport;

  • A valid U.S. arrival / departure I-94 card;

  • Your I-20 or DS-2019 signed by an advisor within the past three months

  • Two identical recent passport size photos for you and each family member (the name and date of birth should be written on the back of each photo);

  • Evidence of temporary visit (e.g. return airline tickets or detailed itinerary of visit);

  • Proof of funds for your visit

  • Documentation must be in English or French only;

  • Personal interviews may be required.

  • Application form

  • Application fee (cash[in person only], certified check, or money order)
    i.$75 Canadian dollars (approximately $50 U.S. dollars) per person for a single entry visa
    ii.$150 Canadian dollars (approximately $100 U.S. dollars) for multiple entry visa per person
    iii.$400 Canadian dollars (approximately $260 U.S. dollars) for the family rate

To apply in person, go to the Visa Office of the Canadian Embassy. The address is: 501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. They are open for tourist visa services Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M.. until 12:00 noon. You will be helped on a first-come-first-serve basis. Your Canadian visa may be processed the same day for in-person applications, providing all documentation is correct. A delay of two weeks or more can be expected for applicants from certain countries. To apply by mail, you must first obtain a visa application. You can either call the embassy at (202) 682-1740 to request an application, fax your request to (202) 682-7701, or download the application from the web site at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.asp. Once you have completed the application, you can send your application materials and a self addressed stamped envelope to: Visa Office, Canadian Embassy, 501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001. Applications by mail generally will be processed within two business days (Monday - Friday) of receipt in the Immigration office, if all documentation is in order. A delay of three weeks or more can be expected for applicants from certain countries. Please keep in mind that an interview may be required before you will be granted a visa.

How can I contact the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.?
You can call the Canadian Embassy by dialing (202) 682-1740 from 8 A.M.. to 6 P.M. To learn more about visiting Canada, you will be forwarded to a recorded message based on your country of citizenship.

COUNTRIES WHOSE CITIZENS REQUIRE CANADIAN VISITORS VISAS

Afghanistan

Haiti

Qatar

Albania

Honduras

Romania

Algeria

Hungary

Russia

Angola

India

Rwanda

Argentina

Indonesia

Sao Tomè e Principe

Armenia

Iran

Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of

Azerbaijan

Iraq

Senegal

Bahrain

Israel1

Serbia-Montenegro

Bangladesh

Ivory Coast

Seychelles

Belarus

Jamaica

Sierra Leone

Belize

Jordan

Slovak Republic

Benin

Kazakhstan

Somalia

Bhutan

Kenya

South Africa

Bolivia

Kiribati

Sri Lanka

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Korea, North

Sudan

Brazil

Kuwait

Surinam

Bulgaria

Kyrgyzstan

Syria

Burkina-Faso

Laos

Taiwan

Burundi

Latvia

Tajikistan

Cambodia

Lebanon

Tanzania

Cameroon

Lesotho

Thailand

Cape Verde

Liberia

Togo

Central African Republic

Libya

Tonga

Chad

Lithuania

Trinidad and Tobago

Chile

Macao, S.A.R.

Tunisia

China, People's Republic of

Macedonia

Turkey

Colombia

Madagascar

Turkmenistan

Comoros

Malawi

Tuvalu

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Malaysia

Uganda

Congo, Republic of the

Maldives Islands

Ukraine

Costa Rica

Mali

United Arab Emirates

Croatia

Marshall Islands

Uruguay

Cuba

Mauritania

Uzbekistan

Czech Republic

Mauritius

Vanuatu

Djibouti

Micronesia, Fed. States

Venezuela

Dominica

Moldova

Vietnam

Dominican Republic

Mongolia

Yemen

East Timor

Morocco

Zambia

Ecuador

Mozambique

Egypt

Myanmar (Burma)

El Salvador

Nauru

Eritrea

Nepal

Equatorial Guinea

Nicaragua

Estonia

Niger

Ethiopia

Nigeria

Fiji

Oman

Gabon

Pakistan

Georgia

Palau

Ghana

Palestinian Authority

Grenada

Panama

Guatemala

Paraguay

Guinea

Peru

Guinea-Bissau

Philippines

Guyana

Poland

1 Only Israel citizens holding valid Israeli "Travel Document in Lieu of National Passport" require Canadian Visitors Visas.