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Information about Canadian Travel & for Canadian Students

Information about Canadian Travel & for Canadian Students

Whether you are planning a trip to Canada or an international student from Canada, there are specific guidelines to follow in order to maintain your immigration status and ensure that your trip will go smoothly. At the ISSC, we are here to help you with advice on any immigration-related issues that affect our F-1 international students which includes travel to and from Canada.

Information about Canadian Visas

Travel to Canada

If you are not a Canadian citizen and planning on traveling to Canada, please note that all regular international travel procedures apply for F-1 and J-1 visa holders, and a valid travel signature  is required to re-enter the U.S. from Canada. This could even be true for a one-day trip, so we recommend planning ahead. Please note that while the ISSC cannot review or advise you on the specifics of the Canadian visa process, we can provide you with travel recommendations and helpful resources.

How to find out if you need a Canadian Visa

If your country of citizenship is not among the visa-exempt countries, you will need to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)  from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. A tourist TRV is generally issued for a period of six months and can be applied for online.  Please note that students from certain countries will be required to wait longer for the visa issuance; therefore, we recommend that you apply as soon as possible.

Citizens of visa-exempt countries intending to travel to Canada by air are expected to have applied for an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before their departure to Canada.

For more detailed information concerning Visitors Visas, refer to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

For additional information on Canadian tourism visit the Canadian Tourism Commission.

Helpful Links

Information about getting a visa to travel to Canada

Find out if you need a visa to travel to Canada

Download the Canadian visa application


We will not be able to endorse your I-20/DS-2019 (nor your dependents' I-20/DS-2019) with a travel signature if you have completed your program and would like to travel to Canada during your grace period unless you have already applied for OPT/AT. Please note that once you depart the U.S. during your Grace Period (60-days after program/OPT completion for F-1 students, 30-days after program end date/Academic Training completion for J-1 students), you cannot re-enter in F or J status. Please plan your travel with this in mind.

Travel to Canada while on Post-Completion OPT or the STEM-OPT Extension is allowed. Please review our travel advisory for more information on this topic.

The automatic visa revalidation process  re-validates that you are eligible to enter the U.S. for this single trip. It is not considered a new admission to the U.S. nor a renewal of a visa. If you are considering using the automatic visa revalidation process , please join us for Drop-In Advising.

Please note that J-1 exchange visitor whose visa has expired may be able to return to the U.S. after traveling to Mexico, Canada and neighboring islands/U.S. territories under the following conditions:




Information for Canadian Students

Changing Immigration Status to F-1

An F-1 student from Canada acquires status using the Form I-20, issued by the U.S. school which the student is attending/planning to attend. Status is acquired in one of two ways: 1) by entering the United States with the I-20 and an F-1 visa obtained at a U.S. consulate abroad (Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement); or 2) by applying to USCIS for a change of nonimmigrant status (if the student is already in the United States and cannot travel). Please note that once you change your status to F-1, you are subject to all of the rules and regulations set forth for F-1 students. For more information about a change of status, please visit our website.

I-20, Visa and Initial Entry

Canadian citizens studying at ASU (who are not also U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the U.S.) are considered international students and must abide by all immigration regulations that apply to them. Although Canadian citizens intending to be students in the U.S. do not need to go to a U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for an F-1 student visa, they need to be processed at the border to get their proper F-1 student visa status. All international students are required to get an I-20 from ASU prior to crossing into the U.S. to attend classes.

When entering the U.S. for the first time on an ASU I-20, Canadian students must indicate clearly to the CBP inspecting officer (in the booth at a land border crossing or at the airport kiosk) that they have an I-20 to be processed. Students at land border crossings will need to park and go into the inspection building, as directed by the CBP officer. Students at airports may need to go to secondary inspection. Canadian international students need to bring the following during their initial entry:

  • Current I-20 or DS-2019 issued from ASU
  • Copy of your Financial Guarantee document(s)
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship/passport
  • Your original letter of acceptance and letter of any scholarships awarded
  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements).

Maintaining Status & Employment

Canadian F-1 students are subject to all the same rules for maintaining valid F-1 status as any other international student which means maintaining full-time enrollment during the Fall and Spring semesters. In addition, Canadian students are subject to the same employment rules as all other F-1 students. You are not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week during the Fall or Spring semester for any on-campus position. For additional information, please visit our on-campus employment webpage. You may work on campus, but must receive work authorization for ANY off-campus employment, including summer work and internships. Any off-campus position should relate to your major, as jobs in fast food or retail would not be permissible unless falling into the parameters of your major. Please review our off-campus employment page for further information if you are seeking employment off-campus.


Canadian F-1 students will always be asked to present an I-20 and proof of identity and citizenship to re-enter the U.S. The international student advisor's travel signature on page two of the I-20 should be updated at least once a year, and every six months while on OPT. For more information on student travel signatures, please visit our webpage.

When entering the U.S., Canadian students must make sure that they are entering as students in F-1 student visa status, not as visitors. It is recommended that you check your visa class of entry on your I-94 to confirm your F-1 status. You can retrieve your most recent I-94 here.

Helpful Links

US Embassy & Consulate Websites in Canada

Entering the United States

TN Mexican and Canadian NAFTA professional workers