If a holder of a US passport legally enters Canada and obtains a visa, can s/he then walk across the border whenever s/he wants?

  • US Passport holders do not generally need a Visa to go to Canada unless going there to work. but you can pretty much go to Canad and back whenvber you want, expect to get questioned if it's odd.
    – Tiger Guy
    May 6, 2022 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


The time of day for legal entry is not restricted, but the manner of entry can be (depends on what yuo mean by "whenever s/he wants") Entry into Canada is subject to the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act §18ff which says that

(1) Subject to the regulations, every person seeking to enter Canada must appear for an examination to determine whether that person has a right to enter Canada or is or may become authorized to enter and remain in Canada.

Therefore, even Canadian citizens cannot unconditionally walk across the border. A citizen / registered Indian can enter after satisfying an immigration officer of that fact, and the officer is directed to admit them. Permanent residents have that same right. A visa is not necessary for a US citizen for ordinary tourism, therefore one must assume that they obtained a visa allowing temporary residence. Then, under §22

(1) A foreign national becomes a temporary resident if an officer is satisfied that the foreign national has applied for that status, has met the obligations set out in paragraph 20(1)(b), is not inadmissible and is not the subject of a declaration made under subsection 22.1(1).

As with Canadian citizen entry, the right to enter is not completely unimpeded (you can't just hike into Canada), but subject to the proof-of-admissibility requirement, you can enter.

There are special provisions for air and marine entry since you can fly your plane or steer your boat to a place in Canada that doesn't have immigration facilities, in which case you go find an immigration officer and report for inspection – there is no law prohibiting entry outside of specific hours or at specific coordinates. RCMP can intercept those who enter between ports of entry. Pre-covid, one could obtain an advanced permit to enter on the Pacific Crest trail, which constitutes a quasi-exception although you could still be intercepted, but passed through.

  • I wasn't aware that a visa was not required. So a US passport holder still has to go through a border crossing, and cannot just walk across the border?
    – Someone
    May 6, 2022 at 23:37
  • What if I am a US citizen and passport holder and am in Canada as a tourist? Can I walk across the border from Canada into the US without going through an official border crossing?
    – Someone
    May 6, 2022 at 23:41
  • Re-entry to the US is a completely different issue – US immigration law as opposed to Canadian immigration law. You'd really need a separate question for that.
    – user6726
    May 7, 2022 at 4:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .