In the Know: Visiting the United States

UVic Global Community Newsletter: November 4, 2019

In the Know: Advice for International Students is a section of the UVic Global Community Newsletter that includes valuable information and important dates for undergraduate and graduate international students in the following categories: degree-seeking, incoming exchange, and incoming study abroad/visiting.

Whenever you plan to travel outside Canada during your study at UVic, ensure your Canadian immigration documents will be valid for your return to Canada. If your immigration documents will expire while you are overseas, we recommend that you to consider the processing time on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and plan your document extensions ahead of time, if possible. You are always welcome to consult with an international student adviser (ISA) at the International Student Services (ISS). Business students should contact international student advisers in the School of Business – International Program Office.

Please note that ISAs can only advise on Canadian immigration documents. We cannot advise on immigration documents for travelling to other countries. 

The United States (US) Consulate General Vancouver hosted a Non-Immigrant Visa presentation online on October 30th, 2019. The followings include a summary of the presentation as well as some tips for travelling outside Canada from us. Here is a copy of the US Visa presentation slides.

What Do I need to enter the US for a temporary visit? 

Non-immigrant Visas: 

Generally, international students in Canada wishing to enter the US for a temporary visit must first obtain a non-immigrant visa unless exempt. Refer to the Department of State’s website to find out if you qualify for travelling to the US without a visa.

To qualify for a non-immigrant visa, you must prove:

  • you intend to enter the US for only a temporary visit
  • you have the financial ability to pay for your temporary visit
  • you have a residence outside the US that you do not intend to abandon

To apply for a non-immigrant visa, you must:

  • complete the online non-immigrant visa application form (DS-160)
  • pay the applicable processing fee
  • schedule a visa interview appointment at the nearest US Consular Office
  • attend the visa interview appointment with your required documents
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA):

Citizens of certain countries may be able to enter the US for a temporary visit without a visa if they meet the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). If you are eligible for travelling to the US under the VWP, you must have a valid ESTA. Follow the instructions to apply for an ESTA or check an ESTA status.

Where can I find more information? 

Use the Visa Wizard to understand which visa category is appropriate for your travel.

Learn types of non-immigrant visas.

Check important announcements about US travel advisories on the Department of State’s home page. These announcements usually appear at the top of the home page.

Citizens of certain countries may be subject to the US travel restrictions. These restrictions may change without warning, so we strongly recommend reviewing advisories on the Department of State's website before travelling to or through the US.

Refer to the Department of Homeland Security’s website to learn what to expect at the US Ports of Entry. If you have questions about the US border screening processes, contact the US Custom and Border Protection (CBP).

What do I need to enter other countries for a temporary visit?

If you plan to visit other countries during your time at UVic, please contact that country's nearest Consular Office in Canada for instructions.

More helpful information for international students is available on our website. Please visit or contact ISS if you can't find answers to your questions.

If you are planning to do co-op terms outside Canada, you can contact Mami Schouten, Coordinator, International Programs, at for more information.

Keep in mind that the legalization of cannabis in Canada does not change Canada’s border regulations or the laws in other countries. Taking cannabis across Canada’s international borders is prohibited and can result in serious penalties both in Canada and abroad. We strongly recommend you to review the information on the Government of Canada’s website about cannabis and international travel.