How long can I stay per year? per visit? it's confusing

Canadian Expats and travelers in the USA can communicate with each other here!


pmonty123New Member
Topic author
Posts: 1
Joined: 3 Jul 2008
Location: LA

How long can I stay per year? per visit? it's confusing

Post Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:23 pm

I have been down in the USA since April 7, 2008 and I am not sure when I am supposed to leave by? I drove down so I did not get a I-94 form or any other documentation.

I went to see an immigration lawyer today to check into my options about applying for residency and according to her I am already here illegally. :roll:

She told me that I can only stay 3 months at a time? Is this correct? I read 6 months. And is that 6 months per year? or per visit? I called the immigration hotline and paid $1.56/min but they couldn't give me an answer!

Please help! I don't want to be illegal and risk being denied re-entry next time I come down.

Frustrated in LA
SarniaGrlSuper Member
Posts: 136
Joined: 18 Mar 2008
Location: Bluewater Country

Post Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:33 pm

From the U.S.Embassy website;
Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter the United States directly from Canada for the purposes of visiting or studying.(F-1, 1-20?)
Intending immigrants, fiances or investors must qualify for a visa before entry in the same manner as other nationalities. Other entrants, such as journalists, temporary workers or NAFTA professionals must present all necessary supporting documentation and/or approved petitions directly to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection ( Officer at the Port of Entry.

Canadian visitors present proof of citizenship (Passport / Birth Certificate / Naturalization) and a government issued photo ID (Passport / Driver's License / Provincial Health Card) at the U.S. Port of Entry. A valid Canadian passport is required when arriving in the U.S. by air, or from outside of the Western Hemisphere, and will be required for all air, land and sea entries no later that June, 2009. Unlike some other nationalities, as a Canadian, your passport need not be valid beyond the duration of your planned trip to the U.S. and it need not be machine-readable.

Please be sure to check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site for the latest updates on U.S. entry requirements for Canadians and others.

Canadian visitors are generally granted a stay in the U.S. for up to six months at the time of entry. Requests by any foreigner to extend or adjust a stay must be made prior to expiry to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. All Canadians are reminded that U.S. law requires all foreigners to qualify for the desired stay and purpose at the time of their intial entry. A visitor who intends to live, work or study in the U.S. may be permanently barred from the U.S.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established in 1986 with the objective of eliminating unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas. VWP eligible travelers may apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so. Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all travelers from VWP countries are eligible to use the program. VWP travelers are screened prior to admission into the United States, and they are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program.

Which countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?
Currently, 27 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown below:
Visa Waiver Program - Participating Countries.

Andorra, Iceland, Norway, Australia, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Italy, San Marino, Belgium, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain, Finland, Monaco, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland
Germany, New Zealand, United Kingdom

Citizens of Canada traveling to the U.S. do not require a nonimmigrant visa, except for the travel purposes as described below. The below listed travel purposes require a visa. Additionally, Canadian citizens who have an ineligibility for a visa under immigration law, or have previously violated the terms of their immigration status in the United States, can Learn More about ineligibilities related to Canadians on the DHS Customs and Border Protection Website. Canadian citizens with ineligibilities also have the option of applying for a visa and a waiver at the nearest U.S. consulate if it is more convenient for them.

Canadians require nonimmigrant visas for temporary travel to the U.S. for these purposes:

Foreign government officials (A), officials and employees of international organizations (G) and NATO officials, representatives and employees assigned to the U.S. as needed to facilitate their travel
Treaty traders (E-1)
Treaty investors (E-2)
Fiance/es (K-1)
Children of fiancées (K-2)
U.S. citizen's foreign citizen spouse, who is traveling to the U.S. to complete the process of immigration (K-3).
Children of a foreign citizen spouse (K-4) described above
Spouses of lawful permanent residents (V-1) traveling to the U.S. to reside here while they wait for the final completion of their immigration process
Children of spouses of lawful permanent residents (V-2) described above

Permanent residents (aka landed immigrants) of Canada must have a nonimmigrant visa unless the permanent resident is a national of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), meets the VWP requirements, and is seeking to enter the U.S. for 90 days or less under that program.

Post Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:58 am

If you arrived on April 7, you should leave by beginning of October.

Unless you get married to a US citizen, you are not be eligible to stay and adjust your status to permenent resident. That's is the only way someone on a visitor status can adjust to permanent resident.
StevenCanuckAbroad VIP
Posts: 3721
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Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Location: Calgary

Re: How long can I stay per year? per visit? it's confusing

Post Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:44 am

pmonty123 wrote:She told me that I can only stay 3 months at a time?

She must have you confused with someone on the visa waiver program, Canadian citizens can stay for up to six months in visitor status (generally, there are exceptions).
JenEric34New Member
Posts: 5
Joined: 23 Apr 2009

Re: How long can I stay per year? per visit? it's confusing

Post Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:03 pm

I am planning on going to the US in July for a month, if i decide while i am down there that i want to stay longer, what do i need to do?? Just purchase a return ticket well within the 180 days confused as to when to get my ticket for and for how long to stay

When i go down in July i will have a return ticket, but what i am saying is if i decide to stay longer can i and than just buy another ticket to return say a month later

Re: How long can I stay per year? per visit? it's confusing

Post Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:25 pm

When you enter the United States upon inspection, and you indicate a one month stay in July, then those are the intentions you indicated to the CBP legally upon entry and you really should honor those intentions.

If you wanted to extend your stay a few more months, just return to Canada and re-enter with a new return ticket indicating your anticipated length of stay on B2 or tourist status.

Depending on the port of entry, they might check to see if you actually have a return ticket.

Re: How long can I stay per year? per visit? it's confusing

Post Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:10 am

Or, just call the airline and change your ticket, which would be a heckuva lot cheaper. Usually the change fee will be somewhere around $25 to $100 or so.

Nothing wrong with doing that, as long as you leave before 6 months is up, and you can support yourself during your stay.
JenEric34New Member
Posts: 5
Joined: 23 Apr 2009

K1 Visa

Post Mon May 04, 2009 11:27 am

I am wondering if someone can assist me, I have an american boyfriend we want to go the k 1 visa route, i have been doing alot of research about this and i am confused

when he fills out the I129 what does he have to put with it for evidence if anything, and what is the filing fee and where does he send it to

I am going down in July for a months visit we will fill out all the paper work we can than i will fly back to canada and wait out the process

does anyone know roughly how long it will take before i can go back down to visit him???


Re: How long can I stay per year? per visit? it's confusing

Post Mon May 04, 2009 4:08 pm

for marriage based immigration info to the US see ALL the information you need is already there.

If you visit for a month, you can just flag pole and go back immediately if you want to, but I wouldn't advise it once you have the petition sent in.
JenEric34New Member
Posts: 5
Joined: 23 Apr 2009

Re: How long can I stay per year? per visit? it's confusing

Post Mon May 04, 2009 6:43 pm

thanks reba i will go there and look

what exactly do you mean by flagpole and you wouldnt do that not sure what you mean

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