Can Canadians still immigrate to the U.S. during COVID-19?

U.S. Canada border closure

On March 21, 2020, Canada, U.S. and Mexico agreed to close their respective borders to non-essential travel as a result of the spread of COVID-19.  The U.S.- Canada border continues to remain closed to non-essential travel until at least February 21, 2021.

What is considered essential travel to the U.S.?

It may be easier to ask what is considered non-essential travel.  Non-essential travel is basically any travel from Canada to the U.S. that is for pleasure or tourism.  For example, traveling to Disney World in Orlando, Florida may be considered non-essential travel.  If you are entering for other purposes, it may be considered essential.

Is entering the U.S. with a work visa considered essential travel?

It appears that anybody going through a port of entry with a work visa, whether CBP pre-clearance at a Canadian airport or at a land border, will be allowed to enter the U.S.  This includes TN visas, H-1B visas, L-1 visas, O-1 visas, and E-2 visas.

Can Canadians still apply for TN status at a port of entry?

Canadians are still permitted to apply for TN status at a CBP airport pre-clearance or a land border.

Is entering the U.S. with a student visa considered essential travel?

Canadians with F-1 status, or who are applying for F-1 status, may continue to do so at the border.

Do Canadians have to quarantine when entering the U.S.?

Unlike the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement for those traveling into Canada, there is presently no mandatory quarantine requirements for Canadians entering the U.S. for essential travel.

How does Trump’s immigration ban affect Canadians moving to the U.S.?

It depends.  The Executive Order currently suspends the issuance of immigrant visas, H-1B visas, and L-1 visas at U.S. consulates around the world.  Canadians do not require visa foils in their passports for H-1B and L-1 visas, so this part of the Executive Order is not relevant.  However, Canadians who are awaiting immigrant visas at the U.S. consulate, such as pending marriage green card applications, will be affected by the Executive Order.

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