Crossing U.S border on an iec visa?

Post Reply New Thread

Crossing U.S border on an iec visa?


Total Posts: 2

Joined 2010-02-04

Hi everyone, this has probably been asked loads on here but I can’t seem to find the answer!

Does anyone know if its possible to cross over into the u.s when your on a canadian working holiday visa? And if yes how do you go about it?

me and a friend are hopefully heading over in July this year and then towards the end of the 12 months were thinking of spending a few weeks travelling across the U.S.

Hope someone can help… smile

Avatar for Jammykam

Total Posts: 173

Joined 2008-08-05

I’ve never done a land crossing into USA but I’ve read of a few horror stories where people have been refused entry. You are entitled to entry via the visa waiver agreement, but it is up to the border protection officer whether they grant it to you. There are plenty of these stories and if you google it you should find it.

Thats said, you should be ok. They may question you and ask where you are going, how long you are staying etc. Their biggest concern is whether you will be leaving the country, how you will support yourself etc. If you could provide proof of flight out of the country and funds then that would be ideal.

I’m sure this path has been trodden many times by a lot of backpackers, and also that crossing into/out of mexico so hopefully you will have no issues.

Oh, also make sure you are alert when you cross, i,e, not tired and not hungover. If they do go into long set of questions then they will be designed to trip you up. Don’t lie or try to make your story sound better, you will inevitably trip yourself up but if you tell the truth then you will have nothing to remember smile

Avatar for kenny0_3

Total Posts: 1550

Joined 2006-07-14

I’ve never heard of anyone being refused entry on a visa waiver with British Passport presuming that they meet the criteria for a waiver i.e no convictions etc

Now you have to pre-apply for a ESTA (make sure you use the official website as there is no need to use an agency) it gives the US authorities even more notice to check upon you so you generally know ahead of time if you are goiing to have an issue

I’m unsure about the Canadian WHV but I presume it allows multiple entries into the country during its validity

Avatar for Jammykam

Total Posts: 173

Joined 2008-08-05

You only need the ESTA if you are flying to the US, it should not be required for land crossings (although check whether it is required for a flight out…wink


Total Posts: 3928

Joined 2007-06-25

There are two things you will need to research - the rules surrounding the Canadian Working Visa and the rules surrounding entering the USA.

For British citizens who want to enter the UK, the ESTA (visa waiver) website is the place to start:

Avatar for Jammykam

Total Posts: 173

Joined 2008-08-05

The IEC visa is multiple entry, so that is not an issue. UK has a visa waiver agreement with US so entry to the US should not be an issue.

The issue, IMO, is whether the CBP officer wants to grant you entry. You would assume that it would not be an issue, coming from the UK all that, but it is totally at their discretion and there have been plenty of stories of people being entry because the CBP officer did not think the person would leave the country. I would definitely do some more research around this, I’ve heard both positive and negative stories, definitely worth researching which crossing to use I think…

Again, you don’t need ESTA for a LAND crossing

Who is required to have a travel authorization?

All passengers traveling under the Visa Waiver Program are required to have an approved travel authorization prior to traveling to the United States by air or sea

This specifically talks about flying INTO the US, so have no idea if the same applies for flying out of the US.


Total Posts: 2

Joined 2010-02-04

Thanks everyone for the good advice! I’ll definitely look into which of the border crossings are best to use then.

Good to know its possible to do never been to the U.S so it seems like a shame to be right there and not visit before coming home! Thanks

Avatar for Starsparkle84

Total Posts: 3

Joined 2008-11-30

You’ll be absoloutly fine! Plenty of people on IEC cross the border into the states all the time (going to NY, Seattle etc etc) - you obvis have to go through immigration/border control just as you would entering any country but its no prob as long as you have your passport (Id prob get ESTA just in case they’re looking for it whether its just for flying or not). They’ll prob just ask for your first nights address when in the USA so make sure you have that to hand.

I did this myself a few years back going by bus from Toronto to New York (via Niagra) crossing the border at Buffalo - took about 5 mins to get through so dont listen to the horror stories about being refused entry.

Also you can leave Canada & re-enter as many tes as you like while on IEC but rem it doesnt add any extra time onto your visa!



Total Posts: 5

Joined 2012-03-09


I have a similar question…

I am currently in Canada on an IEC working visa…i’ve been here since May 19th. But when i first landed in Vancouver i decided to go to Seattle for a few days. So i got my 90 day visa (Which ends on Aug 29th..) Now me and a friend have bought a car and want to do a tour of the states….. The problem i s that my 90 days runs out at the end of the month?

So i guess my question is this: When I try cross the border to get back into America in the next few days.. will the American border staff grant me a NEW 90 day visa or will i have to complete the initial visa??

It would be great if i got another 90 days, then i wouldn’t have to worry about leaving America at the end of August and re-entering..(That’s if they would even let me re-enter…!?)

Anybody know?


Also, what if i just rip out the green waiver from my passport? Then i have to get a new one right?

Avatar for Caroline-

Total Posts: 272

Joined 2006-06-29

They will ask when you are leaving the US and it it’s after the 90 days, you’ll have to pay the $6 fee (if it’s still that price) and get another stamp.

I say this from experience, I went into Canada for a few weeks, crossed back over the boarder, and my flight exiting the US was on day 91 from first entering… did mean I got 2 stamps though :D

However, if the green card (the I-94) is still in your passport, you may have other issues to deal with. When you leave the US, that card should be removed by border officials and that shows you have left. It’s more common than you think that this gets missed, and if the 90 day waiver period passes and they don’t have the I-94 in their possession, the US will believe you are still in their country, illegally. So what ever you do, don’t rip it out your self!!!

This is what the Embassy’s website says:

“I did not hand in the I-94/W when I last left the United States

If you have left the United States and are still in possession of the I-94 or I-94W it is in your best interest to forward it to the appropriate authorities so that your record is corrected and that you do not experience any problems on future travel to the United States as a result. If the card is no longer in your possession, it is still possible to amend your departure record.

It is very important that you complete the back of the card listing the port of departure and date of departure from the United States and the carrier/flight information. The I-94 or I-94W together with a letter of explanation and evidence of your departure from the U.S. should be sent to:”

If you don’t plan to re-enter AND leave again before those 90 days are up, you must let the border official know that the I-94 is still in your passport and they should deal with it. If plans change and you don’t return to the US within those 90 days, send the card back to them!!!


Total Posts: 1

Joined 2014-05-02

I really recommend speaking to an attorney in cases like these since every case is different. I used my visa source ( and they were really helpful and affordable.