Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am a British Citizen who will be travelling to Canada and then onwards to USA by train and then returning to Canada by air. I am aware that I do not need an ESTA to enter the USA by train but do I need any documents when traveling back from the USA to Canada by Air? I will be flying home to the UK a few days after returning to Canada. I am only spending a week in Canada and a week in the USA.

To clarify, the travel plans looks like this:

  • Fly UK to Canada
  • Train from Canada to USA (Vancouver to Seattle)
  • Domestic flight from Portland to San Francisco
  • Flight from San Francisco to Vancouver
  • Return to UK from Canada


So, after taking the trip I can confirm that you can travel by train from Canada to the states without an ESTA but it's a bit of a hassle (paperwork, fingerprints, payment must be in USD) and it would have been easier to just get an ESTA. Returning to Canada from the US wasn't an issue.

share|improve this question
Suggest you leave your vacation photos of Yemen, North Korea etc. (if you have any) at home:… – Spehro Pefhany Aug 19 '14 at 0:13
up vote 9 down vote accepted


Firstly, note that you'll likely be required to get a visa at the border with the US, even though you're in the visa-waiver countries for ESTA - it apparently only counts for flights, or within 90 days of a flight into the US if arriving by land(!) as I found out, twice.

However, leaving the country there's not even a passport check - you simply need to have the legal (visa or other requirements depending on your passport) for entering the next country. As the country for you is Canada, and you're a British citizen, you're visa exempt for travel to Canada.

Documents-wise, you'll need your passport and travel documents (flights etc) and it's handy to have any details of your accommodation or other travel plans, in case you get asked for them at any of the borders.

share|improve this answer
(+1) Isn't there a card to hand in or something like that when you enter or leave through a land border? – Relaxed Aug 18 '14 at 16:07
@Relaxed Yup, the I-94 and it's a pain in the butt trying to get a Canadian official to accept it, or even Greyhound, despite what the linked page says about it. – Mark Mayo Aug 18 '14 at 16:11
There are no longer paper I-94's in use – andrewmh20 Mar 14 at 5:56
@andrewmh20 at land borders there are (as recently as a few months ago, I had to use one!) – Mark Mayo Mar 15 at 8:40
@MarkMayo what if you arrive by air and leave by land? – andrewmh20 Mar 15 at 8:54

I'm a British Citizen who have travelled between Canada and USA.

The ETSA is only for flights as you rightly said.

If I drive through the border, then I must stop at USA Immigrations and pay $6, fill in quick form, and have my fingerprints taken. I have not done this via the train so I don't know how that part works.

As for entering Canada, shouldn't be too much hassle especially if you have a return ticket home to show that you are simply a tourist.

Best of luck!

share|improve this answer
Nowadays, visa-exempt air travelers to Canada need to get eta (Canada's answer to ESTA). US citizens are exempt even from eta, however, just as Canadians are exempt from ESTA. – phoog Mar 14 at 4:41

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.