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Proof of ties for Canadians in the US?

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I've done a search but none of the old topics have a very clear answer, so I'll ask again. I'm a Canadian citizen and I've accepted an offer to an American PhD program. I have my I-20 showing full financial support from the university, and I have paid my SEVIS fee. I believe the only other thing I need is proof of ties to Canada, and I'm worried about being denied at the border for lacking proof here. What is sufficient?


My entire immediate family is in Canada. I have bank accounts with significant savings in Canada that will remain open, as well as a credit card. If these would be sufficient, what would I actually have to bring with me to the border? Can I just print off statements? Do I need to get something notarized?


Another thread mentioned proof of a residence that I don't intend to abandon, but given that I live at home, I don't think I can provide this - I don't have any rental payments or an ongoing lease or anything like that. Worse than that is that my parents intend to move (within the same city) about the same time that I'm moving to the US. So my parents' address, which I would use as my permanent address, is not really that permanent!



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When you cross the border (and are issued F-1 status), the official will be checking to ensure that you don't intend to use your student status to secretly move to the United States and stay there. Normally, the very fact that your PhD program is temporary is more than enough to demonstrate this. I've crossed into the US many times on my status now and I have never had to prove ties to Canada with documents. Officials are trained to know that students are generally young people that are unlikely to own real estate or other property.


However, if you are feeling extra worried, you could bring bank statements (don't bother with notarizing though) to show that you are maintaining ties. Make sure you answer all of their questions accurately and do not have any plans to violate your F-1 status. Your parents' address is still your permanent address until they move (then their new address is your permanent address). Don't go into the specifics of how they are going to be moving soon unless specifically asked. 


Finally, one thing you can do is that if you live near an airport with pre-clearance, you can enter the US via one of these airports (there are many, but I only know of Vancouver and Toronto). You can then "cross the border" and go through all of the US Customs thing while in the Canadian airport, before you board your plane. If you go extra early (3-4 hours), then if there are any weird last minute issues (oh no, you forgot your I-20!) then you can either quickly go home and grab it or ask someone else to bring it to you. Alternatively, if you live near a US border with a US airport, you can also opt to cross the border by land (then there's no problems with timing things with a flight) and then fly from the nearby US airport to your destination (this may also be cheaper)




There's also another way to answer your question (the sense I thought you were asking from just the title). Next year, when you are a PhD student in the US, you will have to file taxes with Canada as well. You will be filing as a deemed or factual resident of Canada (which is good) because of 1) your student status and 2) your residential ties with Canada. Your student status means that for the first 5 years, you cannot file as a resident alien in the US, so that helps you make the case of filing as a resident of Canada. Your residential ties with Canada strengthen this argument (e.g. keeping your parents' place as your permanent address, and keeping Canadian bank accounts with your savings in them). More info here: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/living-abroad/taxation

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