Are you a green card holder looking to travel to Canada but not sure how to go about it? You are in the right place.
Green card holders often get confused while planning to travel to Canada because they do not have the needed information about green cards. So this article is here to explain all you need to know about Canada visas for green card holders.
Green card holders, specifically those from the United States, are seen as permanent residents and have the grace to travel everywhere in Canada without the need for a visa. However, you may need other documents in order to travel to Canada, depending on the location you want to visit.
Are you wondering about the documents and other things you need to do for entry into Canada? This article explains that.
United States citizens can actually travel to more than 140 countries in the world without a visa and Canada is not exempt. In fact, the two countries have the closest relationship in the world. These interrelationships have allowed the free flow of migration to and from the US and Canada` by permanent residents of both countries. Despite the need for no visa to travel to Canada, you will still need some travel documents for you to be allowed entry into any part of Canada by land, air, or sea.
What are the requirements for a green card holder to travel to Canada?
In order for you to be able to travel to Canada as a green cardholder, it is important that you have certain travel documents. Such documents include:
Even though you don’t need a visa as a green card holder to travel to Canada, you actually need a valid passport. Since green card holders are not citizens yet, a passport is necessary.
Electronic Travel Authorization
Most foreign citizens who may wish to visit Canada need a visa to be allowed entry; however, some countries are exempt. In 2016, Canada initiated the electronic travel authorization (eTA), which serves as a visa for quasi-visa-exempt countries.
Who needs an electronic travel authorization?
Some countries are Canadian visa exempt so they require an eTA to be allowed entry or transit through Canada. The only country that does not need eTA to travel to Canada are the citizens of the United States. However, they are mandated to carry their valid US passport to be allowed into Canada.
A green card holder or permanent resident of the United States, regardless of the country, is also visa-exempt. They can be allowed into Canada through any means but they are mandated to have an eTA.
Other eTA-exempted states
The United States is not the only country that is exempted from Canada’s ETA before they are allowed to enter Canada. There are actually a few other Canadian eTA exemptions. Some of these include:
- Diplomats approved for entry into Canada by the Canadian government are also allowed entry with an eTA.
- French citizens who are residents of Saint Pierre and Miquelon are flying to Canada directly from these two places.
- Citizens of countries that use a Canadian airport through the China Transit and Transit Without Visa schemes
China Transit Scheme
A Chinese citizen flying from or to the United States and deciding to stop in Canada may not be required to have an eTA.
Transit without a visa scheme
A person flying to Canada from the United States or from the United States may not necessarily need an eTA.
How do I apply for eTA?
Applying for the Canada eTA is very simple and straight-forward. The documents that you will need include a passport and your address. You have to go to the official website and fill out the online form. Once you are done filling out the form, you can make payments with your credit card. Then you wait for approval. Approval can be in a matter of minutes or a few days sometimes. So it is best that you apply before leaving for Canada.
How much does it cost to get a Canadian eTA?
The Canada eTA is not expensive at all; it only costs $7.
What is the validity period of the eTA?
An eTA expires 5 years after collection or when your passport expires. When traveling with your passport, it is required that you travel with a passport linked to your eTA.
Which other countries can green card holders travel to?
The United States is primarily the country that uses green cards, except for a few others. A US green card holder can actually travel to over 140 countries without a visa. Some of these countries include:
Aruba and Curacao
A green card holder needs a visa to visit islands like Aruba, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Boniaire, and other Caribbean islands in the Netherlands. These islands are actually part of the kingdom of Netherlands but you can only visit them with your green card. In other parts of the Netherlands, it is mandatory that you get a visa.
Costa Rica is one of the American countries where you don’t need a visa to enter as a green card holder. All you are required to present are your passport, green card, and a return ticket with 30 days of validity.
This means that you can only stay in Costa Rica for a 30-day period if you are a tourist with a green card. If it is necessary that you stay longer than that, it is necessary that you apply for an extension at the immigration offices in Costa Rica.
Georgia, not one of the states in the US but a European country, allows US green card holders to visit and transit the country without any need for a visa. There are actually a lot of sites to see in Georgia, even though it is not a top destination for people looking to visit Europe but it is a very cool place for vacation and tourism.
All you need to travel to Georgia is your green card, passport, and a to-and-from flight ticket. Unlike Costa Rica, Georgia allows tourists to stay up to 90 days. It is also possible to extend your stay at the immigration office.
Another South American country that can be visited without a visa is Peru, particularly if you are a Chinese or Indian national. In Peru, you will need your green card, passport, and return ticket.
More like the Mexican style, tourists are given a tourist card, which also shows how much time they are going to spend in the country. The country allows only green card holders with Indian and Chinese citizenship to enter without a visa and they are allowed to stay for up to 90 days.
Singapore will only allow you entry into the country without a visa if you have a Chinese or Indian passport. Chinese and Indian citizens are actually eligible for the Singaporean Visa Free Transit Facility (VFTF). However, it is only if they meet the following requirements:
- Depart by sea or air.
- Have a valid flight or ferry ticket leaving in not more than 96 hours from the time of visit.
- Have a valid United States green card
When you meet the above requirements, you can present them to the immigration officers in Singapore at the entry point. It is important to note that you cannot use the VFTF more than once, whether on return or onward travel. Once you have used it for either of the two, it becomes invalid thereafter.
All Balkan countries allow a US green card to visit the country without any need for a visa. In Albania, for example, you can enter with your green card and stay up to 90 days. In Montenegro, it is allowed as well but tourists can only stay for 30 days and possibly apply for an extension before the 30th day. And in North Macedonia, tourists can only stay for 15 days.
The British Virgin Island
The British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean require no visa for a green card holder to come for tourism. However, you will need to provide proof of accommodation together with your green card, passport, and a return ticket back to the United States. You can actually stay up to 30 days with your green card.
Mexico is another neighboring country to the United States that allows green card holders entry into the country without having to obtain a visa or many documents. The only thing that is needed if you are visiting Mexico is your passport, green card, and tourist card. Regardless of your nationality, as long as you are from the United States, you don’t need a visa to enter Mexico.
Follow the below steps to enter Mexico with your green card:
Once you have paid for your airfare, your tourist card will be given to you on the plane, as the price is often included in your airfare.
Immediately after you arrive in Mexico, you should print your card and carry it along on your travels around the country. You may also be asked to present it at the immigration desk at the airport and even at the US embassy before you return.
If you are traveling by sea, you will also present it at the ports as well as at the border if you are traveling by land.
If the tourist card is not included in your airfare, it will cost about $25 to $35.
It is important to note that the green card does not mean an order or your entry is 100 percent guaranteed, so it is necessary to check with the US Embassy before making travel preparations.
Can all green card holders enter Mexico?
Regardless of your nationality, as long as you have a green card, you can enter Mexico. However, you are required to get the Mexico tourist card, which is very different from a visa, in case you are thinking it is almost the same because you do not have to visit the embassy to get it or run any sort of application.
The Mexican tourist card is very easy to get; some airlines even include the cost in ticket fees and it is distributed on the plane to passengers before they arrive at the Mexican airport. If it is not included in your flight ticket costs, you can also purchase it online before you arrive.
Is everyone allowed to travel to Canada with a green card?
As long as you have a green card, you can travel to Canada. As long as you have a US green card, it is a straight ticket, regardless of your nationality. When traveling by air or transit, you only need to get an eTA, while if it’s land border travel, your passport and green card are the only things required.
Can I travel to Canada with only my passport?
Of course not. All international travel mandates that you present your passport to immigration. If you do not have it, you would not be allowed to cross the border if you were traveling by land.
In some countries, it may not be necessary, but it is rare, except for countries that have some kind of immigration agreement, like the Schengen Area countries in Europe. Schengen countries do not need any passport whatsoever to travel to a neighboring Schengen country.
Can I enter the UK without a visa as a green card holder?
You do need a visa when traveling to the UK, unlike in Canada. It seems the UK and US are yet to have that sort of agreement. So if you plan to visit the United Kingdom, it is crucial that you get your passport and a UK visa.
Canada is one of the top destinations for both tourists and other people looking to immigrate. As a US green card holder, you are allowed to enter and exit Canada without the need for a visa. You only need to present your green card, eTA, and passport at the entry or exit point, depending on whichever means you plan to travel with. This is made possible because Canada and the United States are brother countries with several diplomatic relations. Both countries are considered the closest when it comes to interactions between neighboring countries in the world.