I am an Indian citizen studying in America with an F1-visa, and I have a flight that departs from Toronto. I want to drive to the Toronto airport in Canada from New York (NYC), and I will not be visiting anyone. The Canadian visa webpage mentioned that I will require a transit visa because I will be in the country for less than 48 hours.

  1. In addition to using the transit visa at the airport, I wanted to know if the transit visa is valid for an Indian citizen driving into the country from America?

  2. How long does it usually take to obtain a transit visa?


  1. I plan to fly back into Canada, and drive back into America through Canada. Will I need a transit visa on my way back from Canada? I think I will need one in Canada since I should be okay with my F1-visa while encountering the American immigration officials at the American-Canadian border.


  • I presume your flight is to a destination outside Canada. Why would you need a transit visa at the airport? You will only need it at the border when you enter by car. I do not know how long the application will require, but if you are returning to the US in F1 status, it seems like it ought to be fairly routine.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 0:54
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    @phoog Canada, like the US, does not have sterile transit areas at its airports. So he would need a transit visa even if flying from the US via Canada. Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 2:34
  • @MichaelHampton, sure, but he's planning to drive into Canada, not fly there.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 2:35
  • @phoog Yes, I plan on going to Cuba for my spring break. Since there are no flights directly going to Havana from any city in America, I am planning on flying through Cuba. I live in Pennsylvania, and I will most probably be in NYC for a few days before I rent a car and drive up north to Toronto.
    – Eagle
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 3:56
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    You can easily fly to Miami and then connect to a direct flight to Havana. The problem is that currently you can't book them together; they must be booked separately. The agency or airline you book your MIA-HAV tickets through will arrange your tourist card. Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


Transit visas are for entering the country on the way to some other country. I've never heard of one that was specific as to mode of travel. You could drive, bicycle, or even ride a horse if you were granted enough time to do so. I'd be more worried about what you will do with the car you're driving.

Currently the processing time for Canada visa applications made in the US is listed as 12 days. Canada now updates this information weekly. (At the original time of this post, the processing time was listed as 52 days and listed by visa office.)

You should apply for your visa as soon as possible, or schedule a flight which does not start in or transit Canada.

  • Perhaps OP is planning to park in long-term parking and retrieve the car on the way home.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 3:14
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    @phoog It's uncommon for people in NYC to own cars, so I suspect it's a rental. Personally I would not leave a rental in long-term parking for days, and renting a car in one country and returning it in another is difficult at best. And since it's easy to find flights from NYC to India, I suspect something else is going on here that we don't know about and possibly that an immigration officer might not like if he knew about it. Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 3:36
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    @phoog Oh, certainly it's possible, but it doesn't strike me as likely that a foreign student in NYC would bother to buy a car. Public transit is plenty good enough, and parking can cost more than the car payment! Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 3:49
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    I'm working on the Canadian rules, but in the UK a transit visa is valid only if you arrive and leave by air. Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 4:03
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    @Eagle Very strange, I'm in the US - and American - and have no trouble booking MIA-HAV. Type MIA-HAV into Google and you're off. As for a Canada transit visa, you should apply for both entries when you apply for the transit visa, if you decide to do that. Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 5:10

The transit visa allows you to transit through the country; it does not have any other restrictions. Some countries (for example, Saudi Arabia) have restrictions on their visas that dictate the method of entry to the country - but Canada does not have such conditions.

Therefore, the visa to transit is as valid for you to enter Canada as it is for you to transit through the airport - as long as the intention of your visit is to transit.

Keep in mind that the decision to let you enter is at the discretion of the CBSA officers at the border. You'll have to convince them of the nature and purpose of your trip. I only mention this because it is highly unusual for someone to cross the land border with a transit visa - but there is nothing wrong (legally) with doing so; but as it is unusual it may warrant further checks/inspections/questions/delays at the border; so be prepared for that.

Assuming you are able to get the visa in time; its a nice 10+ hour drive (given traffic and congestion at the border). Its approximately 500 miles.


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