Posts Tagged visa

Canadian getting a J1 visa

I wanted to share some of my experiences of a Canadian student obtaining J1 status.  Originally, I found the information on the state websites to be somewhat contradictory.   Maybe, contradictory is the wrong word, it is just that the majority of the information is obviously directed to the international community (minus Canada).  There are some specifics for Canadians, but just the sheer presence of the data directed at internationals makes it easy to become uncertain about what is actually required.

When crossing the border yesterday, I had all of the information that I thought was required (see the 5 points below). The Canadian specific site claims you need (

Canadian Citizens do not need visas to study in the U.S. You do need to obtain an I-20 (or DS-2019) Certificate of Eligibility from the university that you plan to attend. At the time you receive the I-20 (or DS-2019) you will be registered with SEVIS, the student tracking system. You will be assigned a SEVIS number, and be required to pay a registration fee.

When you cross the border to study you will need to provide the Officer at the port of entry:

  • Proof of identity and citizenship (a Canadian passport for example)
  • The original I-20 (or DS-2019) certificate
  • Proof that you have paid your SEVIS fee
  • Proof that you have the funds to pay for the school that you plan to attend
  • Proof of your ties to Canada

After investing more than $500-600 in the process of paying the SEVIS fee and paying for insurance,  I wanted to make sure that this was adequate (i.e., no appointment was necessary at a consulate, nor any extra forms were required).  For more information, I called the pay-line to get more details;  I actually called twice, and both of them confirmed the above.  I  was still a bit tense, up until crossing the border this morning.  After standing in the customs line, the first officer turned me back because I didn’t have an I-94 form filled out.  Luckily this is just like the customs sheet (available near customs).  After filling it out, I tried again.  The officer looked over my things, stamped my passport and I-94, and I was on my way.  Despite the next customs officer ping-ing me into a separate holding area where I was pong-ed immediately back out  (as it was not necessary).  I still wanted to make double sure, so I asked the ping-ing officer if this stamp on the I-94 was my visa.  His reply, “Canadian citizens don’t get visa’s”.  I had heard this somewhere else, and it is confusing, but I think this is the equivalent of visa status.

So as far as  I know everything is all good.

More general information (exceptions).



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