What makes it possible and easy to enter Canada from the US

Cross Canada-US border

The citizens of the US and foreign nationals in the US still have a good chance to arrive in Canada for work or to reunite with family. Canada is continuing to process temporary and permanent immigration applications.

Canada immigration has set rules for traveling from the US to Canada. These aren’t as stringent as in many other countries.

Travelers from the US must, however, prove that their visit to Canada is for essential purposes.

Here are a few instances of essential travel as considered by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):

  • purposes of family reunification, though a family visit would not be considered essential
  • economic services and supply chains
  • critical infrastructure support (like those essential to the health, safety, and security of Canadians and the Canadian government)
  • work and study

There are possibilities for travel restrictions across the Canada-US border to get extended to June 21, 2020, from its current end date of May 21, 2020.

But for genuine cases of essential travel, the agents at Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) will allow entry across the Canadian border.

Certain initiatives under immigration Canada are today in place to assist US citizens to fast-track the work permit process. These came into being even before the COVID-19 pandemic started. These include:


When applying for a work permit under the North American Fair Trade Agreement (NAFTA), US citizens may be eligible for facilitated processing. NAFTA will in the near future be changed to CUSMA (Canada United States Mexico Agreement).

These work permits, in the normal course, do not require an LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment).

Intra-Company Transfer

Companies with locations in both the US and Canada can send employees to work in Canada.

The Intra-Company Transfer Program lets employees working in the US to work at a company’s Canadian branch without an LMIA.

Global Talent Stream

This is a fast-track process that’s usually available to any foreign national.

But since biometric centers are closed, only US citizens may use this option now.

The Global Talent Stream is meant for those with eligible job offers in Canada’s tech industry.

With this stream, work permits shall be processed in 2 weeks.

But in any case, for the benefit of the Canadian economy and residents, the worker has to have an “essential” reason to attempt to cross into Canada.

Certain guidelines must be followed to ensure easier processing of requests to enter Canada. These include points like:

  • If the applicant shows symptoms for COVID-19, you will not be allowed to cross from the US to Canada.
  • The applicant must be able to establish with proof that there’s a job waiting in Canada and that it’s an essential service. Also, it must be clarified that the applicant’s entry into Canada is non-optional and non-discretionary.
  • In case the application is to meet immediate family, documented proof of relation should be submitted. Those relatives’ status in Canada and the reason to meet them should also be stated
  • The applicant should have a clear plan as to how to self-quarantine for 2 weeks upon entering Canada. Otherwise, the applicant will have to go to a government-approved facility for the same.
  • The applicant can get an idea beforehand whether his/her work permit has a good chance of getting processed. For this, the applicant can call CBSA, though a telephonic confirmation need not be a guarantee for being able to cross the border.

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Anshul Singhal

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