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Traveling to the US from Canada: Everything you need to know! 


As traveling is returning to pre-pandemic levels in the US, tourists worldwide are coming to explore the country. From lush Caribbean jungles and beaches to vast deserts and snowcapped mountains, the US has some of the most picturesque and diverse landscapes on earth. As a result, thousands of tourists, especially from Canada, are arriving in the US for a brief stay- for leisure, business, education, and entertainment. 

If you are too planning to visit the country from Canada in the upcoming holiday season, here are a few things you need to know. 

1. Buying insurance is essential

Whether you are a tourist, a student, or someone visiting family, you need a travel health insurance policy to cover you during your stay temporarily in the US. These travel insurance to USA from Canada can typically cover you for medical expenses, hospital stays, dental emergencies, surgeries, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, urgent care, doctor’s visits, and more. 

Students coming to the US can buy a plan that covers mental health, maternity, pregnancy, childbirth, and more. Moreover, you can enjoy travel-related benefits like trip cancellation, trip delay, trip interruption, baggage, personal loss, etc. In addition, some plans offer optional add-ons that can further give much better protection. To buy a plan, contact Visitor Guard®. 

2. Be informed about tourist visas or ESTA 

Canadian travelers must know and understand the requirements to enter the US. The US Visa Waiver Program, also called ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), allows 39 countries’ citizens to enter the US for up to 90 days (about 3 months) without a visa. 

The ESTA application is only needed if arriving by air or cruise ship and not needed if you are entering overland or on local ferries like between Vancouver in British Columbia. The validity of the ESTA is for up to two years. You are allowed to make an unlimited number of trips to the US if each stay has a maximum of 90 days (about 3 months). 

3. Check your passport’s validity 

To enter the USA, your passport must have at least six months of validity left at the time of travel. If your passport expires in less than six months, you will not be allowed to travel to the US. Additionally, you should ensure that your passport is valid for the entire duration of your trip. 

4. Review the entry guidelines 

Since January 22, 2022, DHS has required non-US individuals looking to enter the US via land and ferry terminals at the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination upon request. Moreover, from April 21, 2022, DHS will extend COVID-19-related land border entry requirements. 

Non-US travelers seeking to enter the US via land and ferry through the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination. These requirements apply to non-US individuals, including Canadians coming to the US for essential or non-essential reasons. However, these do not apply to US citizens, residents, and Lawful Permanent Residents. 

5. Learn about the vaccination status 

Fully vaccinated Canadians can travel to the US with proof of vaccination. You can enter the US via air or land with no requirement and can fly anywhere in the country test-free and mask-free. To enter Canada, fill out the ArriveCAN app, and you can be randomly tested on coming to Canada. 

Unvaccinated Canadians cannot enter the US, but there are some exceptions. All minors (under 18) are exempt from the vaccination requirement to enter the US. To enter Canada, kids under the age of 5 are exempt from the pre-entry test requirement. Unvaccinated kids from 5 to 12 must do the test if a vaccinated parent does not accompany them. 

6. Know about the country 

The US is the third-largest country in the world, with an area of 9.83 million square kilometers. The country has a wide variety of landscapes and a rich culture. In fact, if you compare the states, many are bigger than some European countries. Travelers find a lot of diversity- west of the Rocky Mountains are the Pacific states, known for long expanses of beaches, California coasts, stunning deserts, the Grand Canyon, and year-round temperate weather. 

The east of the Mississippi is the industrial and economic hub, consisting of several major cities like New York, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Miami, and more. Here you also find the Appalachian Mountains, which are not only one of the most diverse ecological regions in the country, but also played a vital role in US history, from its settlement to its westward expansion. 

7. Do not miss visiting the national parks 

Though the US is well known for its lively cities and nightlife, it also offers a healthy balance of nature and outstanding landscapes. The country has some remarkable National Parks. The US has the first National Park in the world- Yellowstone, established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1872. 

With 62 protected areas, it makes up an impressive range of national parks, offering all kinds of flora, fauna, and outdoor experiences. When you plan your trip, check which national parks are in or close to the states you visit. The most famous national parks apart from Yellowstone are Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Zion National Park. 

8. Make a proper itinerary 

As mentioned, the US is enormous, so you should plan your trip accordingly. If your trip is short, you will want to focus on just one city or a few cities nearby, like New York, Washington DC, and Boston. Nevertheless, if you have a few weeks, you could expand your trip and fly to the other coast, like flying from New York to Los Angeles or making a road trip. 

If you have up to 12 weeks (about 3 months), you could make a road trip crossing several states across the entire continent. Or you could also go hiking to some offbeat trails, camping in the wild, participate in festivals and major events, or discover the US historical trails, among many others. The options are endless. 

However, owing to the size of the country, getting from one point to another could take a lot of time if you are driving, or a lot of money if flying. Also, the US spans six time zones. Therefore, make sure you know which time zone your destination is in, especially when booking flights and airport transfers. 

9. Carrying cash is necessary 

Though most places you will find enough digital options in the US, there are places that accept only cash. Also, in many places, the tip is left in cash unless you can add it to your credit card. You can pay for everything in most major cities with credit cards and contactless payments. But still, you will find several businesses that are cash only. 

These are a few things to keep a note of when you travel to the US from Canada. Follow these safety measures and have a fun trip in the next holiday season. Also, do not forget to buy travel medical insurance so that you can access medical care soonest and keep your finances safe during your trip. To know more about insurance plans, contact us. We will help you buy the right plan for your stress-free US vacation. 

Pallavi Sadekar

Pallavi Sadekar

Travel Insurance Expert

Pallavi Sadekar is a seasoned insurance professional with over 17 years of experience in the industry. As the Head of Operations at Visitor Guard®, she brings a wealth of expertise to the field. With a profound understanding of insurance, Pallavi has consistently demonstrated her commitment to helping clients make informed decisions about their coverage.

Pallavi’s insights and advice has earned her recognition in esteemed publications, including Forbes, USA Today, and various online platforms. Her contributions to these outlets have solidified her reputation as a trusted authority in the insurance domain. Whether it’s navigating the complexities of visitor insurance, finding the right coverage for clients, or understanding the intricacies of visitor health insurance, Pallavi’s in-depth knowledge allows her to offer practical and informed guidance to her clients.


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