so I’m currently an Australia citizen & Canadian permanent resident. I currently do not hold my PR for Canada and on the advise of my lawyer will be entering Canada through the United States at a port of entry. When I arrive in the US, I am visiting friends in Phoenix for 1 month before I head to the Canadian border. I am entering the US on an ESTA from Australia through the VWP on a one way ticket. Will I be okay in this case since I have proof I am permanently leaving the US to Canada since I don’t have a return flight? It’s justtt too late for me to get a B2 visa since I leave in a week. Thank you!

  • What documentation do you have which shows you will be going to Canada?
    – jcaron
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:14
  • 1
    A "port of entry" is just a place where you enter Canada, and includes airports. Have you been advised to enter at a land border? Is that what you are doing? There is in general no need to enter at a land boarder when you first arrive as a PR. Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:14
  • I take "I’m currently a Canadian permanent resident. I currently do not hold my PR for Canada." to mean that you have been approved for permanent residency but have not yet "landed" to claim your PR status. Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:15
  • @jcaron I have my Confirmation or Permanent residency, Verification of Status and also a letter from my Canadian lawyer stating my travel plans.
    – Kyron
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:17
  • Are you currently in Canada? Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


Officially one of the requirements to enter the US using the Visa Waiver Program is that you are "in possession of a round-trip transportation ticket". This previous answer includes links to the specific legislation that covers this requirements and includes further details on the exact requirements.

Given your specific circumstances it's likely that US immigration would allow your entry, however your issue will not be with US immigration, but with your airline.

Enforcement of the "return ticket" requirement is carried out by the airline that carries you to the US. They have a legal obligation to confirm that you meet certain criteria before they are allowed let you board the flight - and a return ticket is one of those conditions.

Realistically I don't believe anyone other than possibly the airline will be able to give you a definitive answer as to whether they will allow you board the flight to the US. By the letter of the law, it's a clear-cut 'no', however it's possible they will make an exception based on your Canadian PR - but officially doing so leaves them open to being fined by the US Government for allowing you board a flight without meeting the VWP requirements.

  • okay sweet. So in this situation, would my best bet be to book an outbound refundable flight to say a country in Europe just to cover my back, and then show that to United airlines on the day of my departure?
    – Kyron
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 17:04
  • 1
    I think any country would do, and Canada would be much cheaper than Europe. Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 18:02
  • Booking a refundable flight out would be the safest option. Officially the flight needs to be to somewhere outside of North America/Caribbean. ie, a flight to Canada is generally NOT good enough, however with your Canadian PR it would probably be acceptable.
    – Doc
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 18:34
  • Awesome. Well I just spoke to United airlines in the phone and they confirmed that if I show the evidence at the check in desk that I my final destination is Canada, I will be able to board the flight. In the worst case, I had already booked a flight to Canada before I realised you couldn’t fly to A neighbouring country on the ESTA, so be tho at could be proof that I’m atleast trying to do the right thing. Thanks for your help guys!
    – Kyron
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 18:51
  • 1
    @Kyron we've done a very similar journey (NZ to Mexico) on Esta as Mexico residents (without residents ID at that stage). Had a refundable flight to Mexico to satisfy the airline to allow us to board (although I don't recall having to even show proof that to them - different airline, booked for just short of 90 days later). CBP didn't ask and we didn't mention the flight, just said we were moving to Mexico (driving) and we had no problems being admitted to the US.
    – Midavalo
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 19:29

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