June 20, 2017

Snowbirds Be Aware

by William Fraser

With recent issues at the U.S. border, I found that the following article might be of interest and or importance to snowbirds who travel south on a regular basis. In addition to this article, we have added a new book to the ATA Library entitled “The Canadian in America” by Brian D. Wruk. This book deals with the real-life tax and financial insights into moving to and living in the U.S.

A B.C. MP is warning people about a new information-sharing agreement between Canada and the United States that could put travellers who spend a lot of time in the U.S. at risk of significant consequences.

The Entry-Exit Initiative allows officials to track how many days Canadians have spent in the U.S. Prior to the agreement, the country could only track re-entry dates, not exit

“We were specially wanting to alert people that this could potentially be a problem for them if they were being careless about their travel,” said Gail Hunnisett, constituency
assistant for Alex Atamanenko, MP for B.C. Southern Interior.

Hunnisett said she’s been fielding a lot of calls since her office put out the information.

She said a common misconception is that Canadians can spend up to 182 days, or six months, in the U.S. It’s actually 120 days or four months, and that includes all trips to
the U.S. in a single year.

Hunnisett said that to extend their stay to 182 days, Canadians have to fill out a special form.

People who overstay their welcome are at risk of:

  • being considered a U.S. resident and having to pay taxes on worldwide income
  • losing their Canadian residency and their health care
  • being deemed illegal in the U.S. and being banned from the country for three to ten years.

“Anyone who travels to the U.S. regularly should keep a log and make sure they’re accurate if they’re asked to substantiate their time across the border,” said Hunniset.

She said the rules of the length of stay haven’t changed; only the information that can be shared between borders.

Hunniset says so far she hasn’t spoken with anyone who’s been caught.

For more posts like these, visit the Pension & Financial Wellness Committee page.