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Old 08-12-2019, 02:42 PM   #1
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Canadian Snowbird Question

Hi there,
This is question not really related to RV lifestyle, but in a sense it is.
We're Canadian Snowbirds, and we are currently preparing for our second winter in southern USA. In 2018-2019 (November 2018 to April 2019) we spent total of 4 months in the US.
As we are now getting ready to leave for the winter, I'm getting conflicting information from various web sites and incomprensible information from the travel.state.gouv web site.
We are planning to leave October 1, and only return at the end of April, for a total of 7 months. In your opinion, is this legal from the US standpoint?
Thanks for your advice,
Maurice
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Old 08-24-2019, 01:23 AM   #2
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Can you be out of Canada for more then 6 months? I have been told that it may affect your medical care?
Can you get a US Tourist Visa for more then 90 days? How did you do it last winter?
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Old 08-24-2019, 05:23 AM   #3
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I'm not an expert, but from what our Canadian snowbird neighbors in Florida say, it's not the US that has the problem, but rather Canada. 6 month limit (although they cheat and stay longer). Something about the health insurance not being valid after that.
Rusty
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:41 PM   #4
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We are Ontario members of the Canadian Snowbirds Association and their info has been that although Ontario and several other provinces now allow us to maintain OHIP coverage during 7 month absences we are allowed to remain in the USA for 6 months. In fact their magazine replied to a question about a proposed 7 month stay south to consider 6 in the USA and a month in the Caribbean because of possible severe penalties in the US “including travel bans, fines and even arrest “. I suggest that you do some very careful research on this issue.
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:21 PM   #5
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Hi,
After I posted the question, I did some more research, including the Quebec Federation of Camping.


We live in Quebec. The Medical Insurance system here says you must reside in the province at least 182 days per calendar year. The counter start on January 1, and ends on December 31. So since we straddle two calendar years -- going from October to March or April, we can get away with it, granted we count correctly for any subsequent stay during the same year It is a delicate balancing act.


That said, I found out there are 2 additional laws -- and source of worries -- this time coming from the USA: the IRS and the Immigration laws. And of course they don't count days the same way.
The Immigration counts your stay on a 12-month moving window. So since we entered the US at the end of November 2018, our window extends backwards to that date up to and including November 2019. Within that window, Canadians can be in the US for up to 180 days. We needed to create a moving window to see if we were over staying our welcome along the 7-month stay we were planning. And we did. So we will cross the border a bit later, and return to Canada a bit earlier than expected. Bummer.
The IRS looks at your stay on a 3-year moving window. The days in the current year count for 1, in the year before for 1/3, and 2 years ago for 1/6. Add those up, and the total must be less than 181 days. There's a caveat -- of sorts -- you can fill out and send the form 8840 declaring your major interests, financials and main place of stay to be outside the US and you're scots free.


Thanks everyone for your input,


Maurice
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Old 08-27-2019, 06:52 AM   #6
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I wonder who checks?
Rusty
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Old 08-27-2019, 07:03 AM   #7
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Canadian Border Services and the US Immigration services exchange information about who crosses the border, where and when. They are "officially" doing it since March 2019. My guess is that they were doing it before anyway
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