India to Toronto via USA


I have a valid CoPR but can’t travel from India to Canada due to travel restrictions. I am applying for US tourist visa and if approved I intent to reach Newark/New York/Chicago and then travel via road till Toronto.
I have few questions-

  1. Has anyone successfully done this entire process and can confirm? Which route would be the best to reach my destination Toronto via road.
  2. Is their any state wise mandatory quarentine rule? I intent to leave for Canada the very next day of landing in US.
  3. I don’t have international DL. Can I get a one way cab “with driver” who can drive me from New York / Newark/ Chicago to Toronto.
  4. If point 3 is not possible, can I get a cab which can drop me till US border and I can book another cab from Canadian border to Toronto.

I will appreciate your responses to this.



This doesn’t sound like a good idea since travel restrictions are in place all over, and chances of getting your US visa approved may be slim. That said:

  1. Check Google maps. Another option is to land at Detroit (MI) which is not too far away from the border. Check the individual border crossings as well, restrictions apply.
  2. Check state/provincial guidelines, as well as federal for both countries
  3. ON lets you drive temporarily with an Indian DL, so does NY as well I think (verify). No cab driver is going to drive one-way 4+ hours from New York/Chicago.
  4. If you don’t want to drive, get a bus/train from the airport to near the border, and a cab for shorter trips. AFAIK the cabs won’t make the international crossing, so you’ll have to walk across.

On the whole, this is a complicated affair, and not very responsible or safe in this pandemic. If your expiry date is approaching, I’d highly recommend reaching out to IRCC and getting your COPR extended.

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I don’t know what sort of timelines the US embassies have in India in terms of wait times to get a visa appointment so I can’t comment on the feasibility in terms of getting a US visa.

Answers to your questions -
2. There is no hard quarantine requirement anywhere in America. Some states recommend that people quarantine but it’s just a recommendation.
3. You don’t need an international DL (there’s no such thing as an international DL), you can get an IDP which is a translation of your drivers license in multiple languages from your issuing RTO but if your license is in English, then that’s not strictly required. However if you’re not familiar with driving on the “other” side, then I wouldn’t recommend taking that trip via a rental car anyway. If you’re familiar then getting a rental car (with a one way drop off is easy enough at the airport, it’s definitely more expensive than returning the car at the same place).
4. I don’t know if Cabs are considered essential service so you may not be able to find a Cabbie willing to take you across. My recommendation is that you fly from JFK/EWR to Buffalo NY or the Niagara Falls International Airport. From there take a local cab and have them drop you off at the Rainbow Bridge, you can then walk across the bridge (it’s only a couple of hundred metres of walking). But before you do this please call the bridges commission to confirm that the pedestrian walkway is open. The border is closed for non essential travel, but multiple people have completed their immigration landings so I don’t see that as being a problem for you.

My recommendation if you were able to get a visa and wanted to go through with this would be to first fly to Buffalo or Niagara Falls and then if possible take a 1 way rental car. Walking across the bridge seems iffy, theoretically it should work but you don’t really want to be stranded on foot. Drop your rental car off in a no-contact manner at a location near your AirBnB or Hotel in Canada.

You could absolutely wait and have your COPR extended but at this time there’s no idea of how long this is going to be, it could be later in this year or next year and I don’t fault you at all for trying to get this done and starting your new life in Canada. There are numerous people who’ve been stuck in limbo for more than a year.

All the very best!