Traveling with ESTA from the USA to Mexico or Canada

06 Dec 14:41

ESTA has revolutionised the way millions of travellers who enter the United States without a visa travel every year. Visitors visiting the United States can then go to other North American nations. Can I cross the border between the United States and these countries using my ESTA travel authorization? This article will go through the documentation required to travel between the United States and Mexico, as well as the United States and Canada. There is also useful information regarding air, land, and sea travel between these countries.

Visiting Canada from the United States: Do I need a visa for Canada?

Visitors to the United States frequently elect to cross the border into Canada. In fact, this country is home to a portion of the world-famous Niagara Falls. Furthermore, the magnificent Canadian metropolis of Toronto attracts millions of tourists each year.

Because Canada borders thirteen US states, entering the nation from the US is quite simple. These include popular East Coast destinations like Pennsylvania and upstate New York. The boundary is then extended to include Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

If you live in one of these states, you may want to cross the Canada-US border by car. To view the Canadian section of Niagara Falls, for example, you must travel from New York to the Canadian province of Ontario. Flights connecting the two nations are likewise well-organized. Flights between Toronto and the major cities on the United States’ East Coast are quite frequent.

Traveling from the USA to Canada by land or sea

You do not need an ESTA if you are travelling by automobile from the United States to Canada. It is obvious that Italian individuals travelling by land or water from the United States to Canada would be subjected to security inspections. However, the passport will be the only document required. As a result, you will not require a visa or an electronic authorisation.

If you are travelling by automobile or bus, you must stop at a separate checkpoint once you reach the border. In fact, you will notice signs that say “Primary Inspection.” The agents will examine your paperwork and car but will not grant you a Canadian visa.

Border agents will also be allowed to do the following:

  • Inquire about the nature and duration of your trip to Canada.
  • Examine the documentation showing the reservation of your lodging;
  • Examine the contents of your vehicle and your luggage;
  • request that a customs form be filled out;
  • request that taxes or customs charges be paid

Depending on traffic and congestion, the wait at the border might last anywhere from fifteen minutes to several hours. In addition, the Canadian government announces any delays at border crossings between the two nations in real time on this page.

To enter Canada from some border crossings, you must pay a toll. This is the situation with the Rainbow Bridge station, which connects New York and Ontario. If you want to drive to Niagara Falls, you must cross the border right here for roughly $3.

Traveling by air from the USA to Canada with the eTA

If, on the other hand, you are flying from the United States to Canada, you will require a Canadian visa. On the website, Italian people can apply for an eTA Canada (Electronic Travel Authorization).

This travel permission is quite similar to the one necessary for the United States. The travel permission is valid for up to 5 years or until your passport expires. If your passport expires before your electronic authorisation, you will need to apply for a new one. The maximum stay is likewise six months.

Finally, the personal information necessary for an eTA application is comparable to that required for an ESTA form:

  • number on a passport;
  • passport issuance and expiration date
  • Nationality;
  • name, surname, birth date, and location
  • marital standing;
  • former Canadian visa number
  • details regarding your professional activities;
  • residence address
  • an email address
  • general inquiries about your criminal history and health status

You will get an email confirmation after your application has been approved. You won’t need to print it, but make sure your passport number is right. Otherwise, you risk being denied entry into the country.

Arrival at the airport in Canada: all the procedures

In addition to applying for your eTA in advance, you will need the following documents to fly to Canada from the United States:

  1. complete an in-flight “Declaration Card,” a kind of customs questionnaire that asks about the purpose of your trip;
  2. subject to “Primary Inspection” by the Canada Border Services Agency, the country’s customs agency (CBSA). You will next be required to present your documentation as well as your Declaration Card. Customs officers may interview you about your job, the nature of your trip, and your lodging.
  3. When leaving the airport, gather your bags and present your Declaration Card to the CBSA official. Finally, if you have to pay customs fees or taxes, you will need to provide the transaction receipt.

Entering the USA from Canada: do you need an ESTA?

When entering the United States after visiting Canada, be aware of the documentation required to cross the border. Again, the documentation required differs depending on the mode of transportation chosen.

Traveling from Canada to the USA by land

You do not need an ESTA if you are travelling to the United States from Canada by automobile, bus, or rail. In reality, US officials have classified I-94W as the only document necessary to enter the US via land.

Before the border officials can let you enter the nation, you must complete out the paper form. The US Department of Homeland Security has added the opportunity to pre-fill forms online. In any case, once you reach the border, you’ll need to obtain the paper form of I-94W.

The form requests the following information:

  • applicant’s name, surname, and personal information
  • passport number, issue date, and expiry date;
  • Nationality;
  • general inquiries about the applicant’s criminal history

The I-94W form, like the ESTA, permits you to stay in the United States for up to 90 days. Once you’ve passed through passport control and customs, the agent will give you a section of the I-94W form.

Remember to retain it since you will need to show it to the authorities when you depart the United States. This will help you to demonstrate that your stay in the United States did not exceed the 90-day restriction.

Finally, if you already have an ESTA, you will not need to submit the I-94W form and will be able to finish the control processes more quickly.

Traveling from Canada to the USA by air or sea

If you’re travelling from Canada to the US, you’ll need an ESTA or another type of entrance visa. Many Canadian airports, notably Pearson Airport in Toronto, undertake passport control prior to departure for US-bound aircraft.

This implies that before boarding your aircraft, you must present your passport and electronic travel permission. As a result, once in the United States, you just grab your luggage and continue to the exit. If you do not have a current ESTA, you may apply for one here.

Visiting Mexico from the United States: What Documents Are Required?

Mexico, like Canada, has a vast border with the United States. In reality, it stretches throughout California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. As a result, it is not uncommon for an Italian tourist to desire to visit Tijuana or other surrounding locations, maybe beginning in California.

It is fairly straightforward for Italian residents to enter Mexico for tourism purposes. However, because it is a different state, the ESTA will not be accepted for entry into the nation.

Travel overland from the USA to Mexico with FMM

To visit Mexico, Italian nationals do not require a visa. When crossing the border by land, you will simply require a Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM), sometimes known as a multiple immigration form. This document, on the other hand, is quite straightforward to get and may be requested online.

The following information must be given in order to submit an application:

  • the applicant’s given name and surname;
  • Nationality;
  • birth date and place;
  • residence address
  • length and location of stay;
  • number on a passport;
  • The passport’s issuing date and expiration date

In contrast to ESTA, the FMM is free if the journey is less than seven days and you remain in the Border Zone. The Border Zone, or border zone, stretches for up to 35 kilometres from the Mexico-US border. If, on the other hand, you want to go outside the Border Zone, the FMM will cost you $22.

Applying for the FMM online can save wait times at border passport check, although it is not required. In reality, you will be able to fill out the paperwork at the border crossing. Remember that you will require a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of your entry in the country in any scenario.

Traveling from USA to Mexico by plane

If you wish to fly to Mexico from the United States, you will also require an FMM. However, in this scenario, the method will be considerably simpler. Indeed, flight attendants typically deliver these paperwork before to landing. All you need to do is fill it out and give it to the customs official.

Unlike ESTA, if you do not receive the form before your travel, you can obtain one at the airport. Finally, if you want, you may fill out and print the online form before to departure. If you are flying, you will need the following items:

  • a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of entry into the country;
  • a round-trip ticket
  • address of the hotel or private residence where you will stay (not mandatory, but recommended).

Keep the form safe; you will need to pass it over to Mexican officials when you depart the country. If you misplace it, you must obtain a replacement copy for around $27.

Traveling from Mexico to the United States: necessary documents

If you have visited Mexico and wish to return to the US, you will require an ESTA or the I-94W form. As a result, the required papers differ according to the same criteria as shown for the transit from Canada to the United States. Consequentially:

  • If you are entering the United States by land from Mexico, you must fill out Form I-94W. In truth, the ESTA is not required for persons crossing the border by land. If you have one, you will not require the I-94W form and will be able to finish the vetting processes more quickly.
  • You will need an ESTA if you are flying or sailing into the United States from Mexico. So, remember to get your Electronic Travel Authorization before to your travel. If you don’t have it, you can get it here.

In any event, you must have a biometric passport valid for at least six months after entering the United States.

Precautions for traveling with ESTA from the USA to Canada or Mexico

Traveling with an Electronic Travel Authorization always necessitates a few more steps, especially when travelling to and from Canada or Mexico. In particular, we recommend that you:

  • Check to see if your nationality qualifies you for an ESTA. Most European nations are members of the Visa Waiver Program, therefore their residents do not require a visa. Otherwise, you must apply for a tourist visa at the nearest US consulate in order to enter the United States.
  • Take note of the authorization’s duration. The authorisation permits you to stay in the United States for up to 90 days. If you leave the United States to visit Mexico or Canada, your time there will count toward your 90-day limit. As a result, make certain that you do not exceed the maximum permissible stay in the United States.
  • Remember to submit your ESTA application on time. At least 72 hours before your journey, you must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization.

Bottom Line: Traveling from the US to Mexico or Canada is simple

It is fairly straightforward to go to Mexico or Canada from the United States. In truth, Italian residents require little documentation to cross these states’ borders. One of them is the passport, which is followed by the ESTA and the electronic travel authorizations provided by Mexico and Canada.

It will therefore suffice for you to focus on the modes of entry to and from the United States. Access by land and air are frequently governed differently and need various travel papers. Remember that an ESTA is required for all tourists visiting the United States, and you must apply for one before your trip.


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Concerned about ESTA? Please read our Frequently Asked Questions section.