How to Get a U.S. Visa in Canada


Most Canadians traveling to the United States as tourists do not require visas; a valid Canadian passport is sufficient to enter to United States. Canadians traveling to the United States for business or trade, however, may need a visa. Non-Canadian residents who wish to travel to the United States may also need to get a U.S. visa through U.S. consular services in Canada. The U.S. government has an embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax.

Visit the Embassy of the United States in Canada website ( Move your cursor over “Entering the U.S." in the top menu. Select "Visas" in the drop-down menu.

Click on “Categories and Requirements” in the menu on the left. Check the different visa types listed to see which describes the nature of your visit. Some examples are "Business Travel," "Student" and "Religious." Different visa types may have different application requirements.

Click on the link “an online application called the DS-160” under the"Important Notice for All Visa Applicants." This will take you to the online visa application, located on the U.S. Department of State's Consular Electronic Application Center website ( You can only complete this application online using Internet Explorer or Netscape Web browsers.

Complete the DS-160 application in English only. Include your passport number, as well as personal and family information. Specify the type of visa for which you are applying. You will need to upload photos of yourself to the website. The photos should be similar to passport photos. Pay the fees. The amount of the fee is determined by the type of visa you request. Payment is accepted by phone or online with a credit card or by Scotiabank or PayPal payments. Write down the payment confirmation number. Once you have completed the application, write down the application identification number you receive and print the confirmation page.

Schedule an appointment for a visa interview. Go to the U.S. Visa Service website ( Click on the bottom right corner of the page that says "Click Here for U.S. Visa Information and to Schedule an Appointment Online." Read the information, check the box next to "I have read and understood the information above" and click "Confirm."

Enter your passport number and date of birth. Specify at which of the Canadian U.S. consular offices (Resource 1) you wish to have your interview. Enter the confirmation numbers you received after paying the application fees and submitting the DS-160 form. Depending on the type of visa, you may need to provide additional information, such as confirmation numbers for student, temporary work or immigrant applications. Wait times for appointments and visa processing are listed with each consular office.

Attend your visa interview. Go to your chosen U.S. consulate or embassy on the date specified for the appointment you made online. Bring all required documents, which vary depending on the type of visa for which you are applying. For example, if you applied for a tourist visa, you must bring the confirmation page from your DS-160 application, your valid passport, previous passports with U.S. visas, proof of adequate funds to support yourself during your stay in the country (such as a bank statement) and proof of ties to your home country (such as a home deed or proof of employment.) Detail the purpose and plans of your visit.

Pick up your visa, if your application was approved, at the DHL office you selected during your appointment. You will be notified when your visa is ready or if it was denied.

Tips & Warnings

  • More stringent security guidelines mean longer wait times for application approvals. Apply for a visa before you buy air or train tickets, as the approval process may take longer than you anticipate.
  • If you require an emergency visa, contact the nearest U.S. consular office or embassy.

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