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I am a US green card holder and working in Detroit, US. My partner is a foreign student in Windsor, Canada.

I am a citizen of Iran. Is it legal for me to reside in Canada and commute to US daily?

  • I've heard of it before, so I think so (I don't have any references so just a comment). – Henrik May 2 '18 at 11:35
  • @DJClayworth I am citizen of Iran. – Polymorphic May 2 '18 at 13:36
  • Please edit that info into the question. And do you have a visa that will let you live in Canada? – DJClayworth May 2 '18 at 13:41
  • @DJClayworth Done. No I don't have any Canadian visa. – Polymorphic May 2 '18 at 13:48
  • How long is your partner's course of study? – DJClayworth May 2 '18 at 16:30
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Technically this is possible. However in your case you are going to run into some difficulties.

The first difficulty is that you require a visa to live in Canada. A visitor visa is technically what you want, since it covers 'temporary residence'. (Technically your partner will be in Canada on a visitor visa, coupled with a 'study permit'.) Getting a visitor visa for one or two years is possible if you explain that you want to be with your partner.

The second difficulty is that if you live outside the US you are putting your US Permanent Residence status at risk. It depends on the length of time you will be living in Canada. Anything up to six months is probably OK, but more than that is a problem. There is a "Permanent Resident - In Commuter" status, which is for residents of Canada (or Mexico). You would need to convert your Green Card to that status, and be aware that it does not carry all the privileges of a full Green Card - particularly that time spent in Commuter status does not count towards citizenship requirements. You would probably need to get your Canadian visa before converting your US Green Card.

Assuming that both those difficulties are overcome there is nothing preventing you making daily border crossings. A fair number of Canadian and US citizens do this. A NEXUS card would absolutely help the process.

I would strongly recommend consulting lawyers with Canadian and US immigration experience before embarking on this. Alternatively you and your partner having separate residences, one in each country, and visiting each other on a frequent basis would be a simpler solution.

  • Check out help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/820/~/… – mkennedy May 2 '18 at 16:17
  • There is a commuter status for Green card holders to keep their PR status while commuting from Canada to US. So it's OK on US side. But I don't know how Canada border will react, when I exit every morning and get back to Canada every night! – Polymorphic May 2 '18 at 16:19
  • As long as you have a visa that lets you live in Canada you will be OK. – DJClayworth May 2 '18 at 16:21
  • @DJClayworth I am not sure it is living or visiting! (LOL) ;) So what kind of visa do I need, or do I need a visa at all. Because I don't want to buy or rent a house in Canada. My partner does. – Polymorphic May 2 '18 at 16:25
  • @mkennedy Re-entry permit is proper for someone who is leaving US for a long time (2 years) and wants to keep the PR status. I keep working is US. – Polymorphic May 2 '18 at 16:27
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It's possible.

You may want to apply for NEXUS if you are eligible. This will let you use the NEXUS lanes which tend to move much more quickly and are usually less busy. It will also reduce the amount of screening to which you are subject, because you will be pre-screened during the application process.

Carefully research the border wait times at the times you intend to cross, to get a sense of the delays involved at the border crossings. These are the busiest crossings at the Canada/US border and delays can be significant at times.

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    Actually my question is about the rules.Is it legal to pass the border two times a day? Do I need a permit or something like that? And I pass the land border. – Polymorphic May 2 '18 at 13:38
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    @Polymorphic It's legal to cross every hour if you want, although you'll get questions about why. Your situation is perfectly defensible. You will need to get permission to live in Canada, though - a visa will likely be required. As for crossing the border, you'll need a passport or NEXUS card, or an enhanced driver's license from the province or state where you live. – Jim MacKenzie May 2 '18 at 14:41

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