United States Visitor Visa (B1/B2)
International students planning on traveling to the United States for personal travel or to attend a conference will need a U.S. Visitor’s Visa if they are a citizen of a country that is currently not part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
How to Apply for a U.S. Visitor Visa
All applicants in Canada between the ages of 14 and 79 intending to apply for U.S. Visitor Visa while in Canada may need to apply in person at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Those in London, Ontario should schedule an interview at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto. To apply, you must first submit your application and make an appointment online.
- Complete the visa application form (DS-160) online (handwritten applications are no longer accepted). Print the confirmation number. You will need to indicate the confirmation number from the DS-160 application form when booking your appointment.
- Have your passport information available.
- Review the general information on the application process
- Create a user account
- Enter the DS-160 confirmation number for each applicant applying for a Visa
- Complete the courier document return process
- Pay the Non-immigrant Visa (MRV) application fee(s)
- Citizens of certain countries may have to pay an additional "reciprocity fee" if a visa is approved
- Schedule a Consular Section appointment
Students are advised to make an appointment and apply for their U.S. Visitor Visa well in advance of their planned trip to the United States as it can sometimes take several weeks or months to get an appointment date.
Personal Appearance Wavier (PAW) Program
As of October 2014, "certain qualified individuals [can] apply for a visa to the U.S. without being interviewed.” Under this new program, “applicants will be informed of their eleigibility for the PAW program when they apply for a visa appointment at canada.usvisa-info.com. Qualified individuals will be instructed to submit their applications by mail, saving the time and expense of a visit to a U.S. consular facility.
In addition, some other first-time visa applicants such as children applying before their 14th birthday and applicants over the age of 79 are exempt from personal appearance and will be informed of their eligibility for the PAW through the online appointment system.” 1
- Prepare the documents you may need for the interview.
- Review information for visa applicants at the travel.state.gov website
Note: If you have been exempted from attending an in-person appointment under the Personal Appearance Waiver Program, you must submit all required supporting documentation in the application package.
You can view current visa processing times online.
Attend an appointment in-person, unless you have been exempted under the Personal Appearance Wavier Program.
Ensure that you bring all of the required documents (see Step 3 above) to your appointment. Review the security procedures for the U.S. Consulate.
Note that the entrance for visa appointments at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto is at 225 Simcoe Street.
Applicants whose visas are not issued will be given back their passports and a letter explaining the reason for the refusal at the end of the visa interview.
Visit the U.S. Non-Immigrant Visa Applicant website for information on your visa status and delivery.
Additional information on applying for a U.S. Visitor Visa:
- U.S. Department of State: Visitor Visas
- U.S. Embassy video on " How to Apply for a U.S. Non-Immigrant Visa in Canada" (available in multiple languages).
U.S. Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and enables eligible citizens and nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a U.S. visa.
Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers are required to obtain a travel authorization online via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. (there is a registration fee for this).
Additional information regarding the VWP:
- U.S. Department of State: Visa Waiver Program
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
- List of countries eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program
Travelling to the U.S. (I-94)
Entering and Departing the United States - Form 1-94/I-94W
When you enter the United States, you may be issued an Arrival/Departure Record (I-94) or a stamp that will be placed in your passport which will include the date by which you must leave the United States.
Note: The I-94 and I-94W process has been automated, and air and sea travelers no longer need to complete the paper Form I-94 or I-94W. A stamp will be place in their passport.
If you are not issued an I-94, but would like to retrieve your own I-94 information, you can access it online.
If you are travelling to Canada by land through the United States, it is important that you hand in the I-94 form to the U.S. border officials when you leave the United States. This is your record that you have departed the United States. If you received an electronic I-94 upon arrival by air or sea but depart by land, your departure may not be recorded accurately. For more information visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
For more information, please visit the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.
I forgot to turn in my I-94 when I left the U.S., what should I do?
Instructions on how to record your departure from the United States after you have returned to Canada is available through U.S. Customs and Border Protection.