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I am a Canadian citizen with dual British. I got Canadian citizenship in 2014. I do not have a Canadian passport, however I'm in the process of getting one (I lost my proof of citizenship, takes 5 months to replace). I'm looking to travel to the United States for 2 weeks to spend Valentine's days with my American girlfriend.

Here is my travel history since 2014:

November 2014; 10 days

August 2015; 27 days

September 29th to 25th of November

When I tried to enter America for my extended stay in September, the agent told me I didn't have enough days left on the waiver to stay the entire duration so I had to change my trip from Sept 29th to 25th of November from December 1st. At the time, I wasn't working and wasn't in school (I'm 21). I'm now working and have applied to start school in September.

I want to visit for 2 weeks in February to spend Valentine's days with her. If I provide enough proof I'm only staying for 2 week and will return home as planned, will they grant me access? I'm just worried since they didn't seem so happy with me last time.

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    Where are you currently resident? Canada? The UK? Other? – Gagravarr Jan 12 '16 at 11:57
  • I've lived in Canada since 98 – Jordan78 Jan 12 '16 at 12:06
  • There's other ways to get into the US if you're Canadian, an enhanced driver's license for example – blackbird Jan 12 '16 at 12:59
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    Or a NEXUS card, if you really don't want hassles at the border. – Michael Hampton Jan 12 '16 at 20:25
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I'm in your situation, being British and having been a Canadian citizen since 2007.

If 'the agent' means a US CBP officer, then it's almost certain he did not realize you were a Canadian resident, or decided that without proof of residency to apply the non-resident rules.

There is a well-known rule that going from the US to Canada (or Mexico or other nearby places) doesn't reset the clock on the 90 days you are allowed to spend in the US under VWP. However if you are resident in Canada that rule does not apply. (Otherwise someone living in Canada and visiting the US for 2 days, 91 days apart, would be in breach of the rule). USA Visa Waiver does not have a '90 days in 180' like Schengen does - it simply places a maximum of 90 days per stay. You can, at least in theory, exit the USA after 90 days and return (Although not to nearby countries, and you can't use that technique to stay in the US indefinitely.)

You should be able to enter the US. You will need to provide proof of Canadian residence - your Permanent Residence card, if you still have it, should be enough, but other things may also work. Evidence of your intent to return will be useful.

You do have an issue that you've spent a long time in the US, and the border officials may suspect you are trying to live with your girlfriend (although I think it's unlikely). Make sure you carry evidence that you have ties to Canada.

Also worth mentioning that life will become a lot easier when you have a Canadian passport. All these issues will stop being a problem, and you won't get the annoying fingerprinting, cash fees to enter, and other ways the US makes getting into their country hard.

  • I think "the agent" is the CBP officer. – phoog Jan 12 '16 at 15:14
  • Thank you for the response. I'll be sure to gather evidence on my trip. I imagine pay stubs, college receipts, and other fun stuff should be enough? I actually tried to get Canadian passport but I recently lost the Canadian proof of citizenship in my most recent trip, so I'm doing the paper work to get a replacement. And yes, the agent was the CBP officer at the Ottawa airport. I was pulled aside and spoke to them for about 30-45 minutes. They ended up going through my bags to make sure I wasn't bringing school/work stuff over. – Jordan78 Jan 12 '16 at 15:20
  • @Jordan78 did you tell them that you are a Canadian citizen or that you are resident in Canada? – phoog Jan 12 '16 at 15:31
  • @phoog Good point. Edited to reflect. – DJClayworth Jan 12 '16 at 15:36
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    The CBP agent might have just decided that without proof of citizenship or residence he had to apply the rules for non-resident Brits. – DJClayworth Jan 12 '16 at 16:19
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The agent did not realize that you were a Canadian resident and thought that you had made a brief trip to Canada. There's a VWP rule that brief trips to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands do not reset the 90 day limit given to a VWP traveler upon entry to the US. This is to prevent people from using these countries to extend their stay in the US.

For obvious reasons, that rule cannot apply to residents of one of those countries when they make "brief trips" to their country of residence. Those aren't brief trips; they are stays at home.

See https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html.

Proving you're a Canadian resident without a permanent resident card and without evidence of citizenship might be tricky, though. A bank statement showing a Canadian address and Canadian-source income might do it.

  • The CBP officer was aware I was Canadian as he asked why I didn't have a Canadian passport. I explained I never really needed it as I had a British one. – Jordan78 Jan 12 '16 at 15:36
  • As @DJClayworth above mentioned: maybe the officer was "aware" but he most likely didn't believe you and simply applied British rules to you. – chx Jan 15 '16 at 3:48

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