Do Green Card Holders Need a Visa for Canada?

Traveling to other countries isn’t barred for green card holders. U.S. permanent residents do not need a visa to travel to Canada. However, if you are a green card holder, you will still need valid travel documents (like your green card and passport) to cross the border.

The U.S. has a close and extensive relationship with Canada. They share the world’s longest international border, trade $1.8 billion in goods and services daily, and 380,000 people cross between the countries every day. This unique relationship has resulted in special immigration provisions for Canadian and U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

green card social security card and united states passport
A green card, Social Security card, and the United States passport on top of an American flag. If you’re a green card holder, you don’t need a visa to travel to Canada.

Can U.S. Permanent Residents Travel to Canada?

Yes, permanent residents can travel freely to Canada. No visa is required; however, the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship (CIC) does require permanent residents to have a valid U.S. green card and passport from their country of citizenship.

Will Traveling to Canada Affect My Permanent Resident Status? 

International travel as a permanent resident won’t put your green card at risk. If you plan on staying abroad for longer than a year, then you will need to fill out several essential forms and ensure that your re-entry to the U.S. is as smooth as possible. 

If the USCIS deems that your stay abroad constitutes abandoning the U.S. as your primary home, then your green card may get revoked. While the vast majority of trips don’t have any issues, if you need to travel for more than a year, it is advisable to get a reentry permit to protect your green card status. 

Do I Need a Visa to Go to Canada If I Have a Green Card?

No visa is required to simply travel to Canada if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a green card. Generally, permanent residents are allowed to travel to Canada freely and remain for a six-month stay. You can also apply for an extension if you want to stay longer.

Entering the country as a visitor does not allow you to work in Canada or study for an extended period of time. To work or study, you may be required to get a special immigration permit.

Do I Need an eTA to Travel to Canada?

Some travelers are also required to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada. If you are flying to or transiting through Canada, you will need one. If you are simply driving to Canada or traveling by boat, it is not required.

To apply for an eTA, you need a valid passport, a credit card, a debit card, and an email address. The cost is $7 CAD, and you can apply online; eTAs are valid for five years.

Make the Proper Arrangements Before You Travel to Canada

Even though you don’t need a visa to travel to Canada as a green card holder, you should still make proper arrangements to ensure that nothing goes wrong, such as: 

  • Ensuring that you’re your green card is valid for the duration of travel.
  • If you’re currently waiting for your green card, with a pending I-485, you will need to get an advance parole (Form I-131) to travel outside the US. 
  • Have all of your travel documents and authorizations organized and secure before and during your trip. 

As long as you take the proper steps, you can avoid many risks and any potential problems arising from traveling with your permanent resident status. 

Travel Internationally Worry-Free 

Canada is one country where the United States green card holders don’t need a visa to enter. However, if you are visiting anywhere else globally, you may need to fill out paperwork and several applications to get cleared. If you’re planning a trip soon, let FileRight help you get started today.

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