Business travel to the USA after President Trump’s Executive Order: How Canadians and PRs are affected

Canadian citizens and permanent residents (PRs) may be denied entry into the United States due to President Trump’s recent Executive Order, despite assurances suggesting otherwise from the Canadian and U.S. governments. Personal and business travellers should consider planning their trips with the expectation of delays and potential denial of entry.

Current situation

Since the January 27, 2017 Executive Order of President Trump, there have been significant issues with delays and denials for business and personal travellers. The order barred entry to the U.S. for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia. For dual passport holders and Canadian PRs with citizenship in those countries, this has created a chilling effect on travel, as well as large-scale confusion.

Travel restrictions – PRs

At the present time, Canadian PRs who carry a passport from any of the excluded countries cannot enter the U.S. if they require a visa. Canadian permanent residence status does not remove any visa requirements imposed by other countries. Persons with visas will have them cancelled if they attempt entry.

Travel implications – Dual citizens 

Dual citizens of Canada and an excluded country who travel on their Canadian passport should be able to enter the U.S., though not without issue. Many individuals are reporting an almost discretionary application of the Executive Order, despite assurances from the U.S. and Canadian government that such persons are assessed on the passport they are travelling on, and not on their country of birth or dual country of citizenship.

For dual citizens, the following travel advice is recommended:

  • If possible, anyone flying into the U.S. should avoid travel which does not have pre-flight customs/passport inspection (a list of pre-clearance airports is available online). If denied, the Canadian citizen will avoid being stuck on the U.S. side of the border waiting for a flight home.
  • If possible, enter the U.S. at a land border, which will allow for ease of return if entry is denied.

For more information, contact one of our lawyers in our Immigration Practice Group.