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RVing message boards => Visitors to the USA => Topic started by: Tarabrae on April 07, 2015, 11:11:43 PM

Title: The ultimate retirement plan
Post by: Tarabrae on April 07, 2015, 11:11:43 PM
My wife and I still have a few years to go before retirement but we've recently started thinking about what we might do.  We've thought about full-time RVing in Australia (caravanning we call it, as I'm sure most of you know) and that's most likely what we'll do, but it occurred to me that we could probably do it for a while in North America too.  I spent six months travelling in Canada and the US when I was in my 20s and it would be great to relive that, on a bigger scale.

Now, given that with the right visa we can spend six months in the USA, and with no visa at all we can spend six months in Canada, how feasible would it be to essentially alternate between these two for a number of years?  We want to do everything above board so I'm trying to get a feel for how this might be looked on.

We wouldn't stay exclusively in those countries, there would be the occasional trip to the UK and Europe (being so much closer), plus trips (probably shortish) back home. 

We of course wouldn't be working - I'll have a generous pension from 35 years of government service in Australia plus significant assets - and will maintain Australian bank accounts and drivers licenses, although we will sell our home.  So I think we could easily justify our status as visitors.  The RV we'll tow behind our truck, plus our photos and journals, will be able to testify to that.  We'll also still be paying taxes and Medicare levy in Australia.

Eventually when we've had enough, or our health requires more doctors visits than our overseas medical insurance will cover, we'll go home and pick up the lifestyle again there if we can.

So how long do you think we could sustain this, from the point of view of not raising the ire of US and Canadian authorities? Five years? Ten? Indefinitely?


Title: Re: The ultimate retirement plan
Post by: Tom on April 08, 2015, 07:53:40 AM
Sounds like a great retirement plan.

I don't know about the rules regarding multiple entries into Canada. But, spending 6 months in Canada before each re-entry to the US shouldn't raise eyebrows (in the US). However, be aware that the decision to allow entry/re-entry and the length of an indvidual stay is entirely at the discretion of the officer at the (US) port of entry. This assumes you have B1 or B2 visas.
Title: Re: The ultimate retirement plan
Post by: Alfa38User on April 11, 2015, 11:08:40 AM
Start by contacting the embassies of the various countries you wish to spend time in. They will be able to give you the visa  and length of stay  requirements available to you. Once you have that information, you can look into refining it by, for example, leaving the USA for Canada, and after a period of time, restarting the clock on your visit to USA (and perhaps visa versa)..... But remember, everything depends on those defending the borders of these countries in real time, so there could be surprises too.....
Title: Re: The ultimate retirement plan
Post by: Tarabrae on April 12, 2015, 11:49:14 PM
Thanks for the advice guys, I appreciate it.
Title: Re: The ultimate retirement plan
Post by: grassy on April 13, 2015, 08:46:46 AM
Don't you have to spend a set time home to maintain your health care ?
Title: Re: The ultimate retirement plan
Post by: Tarabrae on April 14, 2015, 02:06:03 AM
Don't you have to spend a set time home to maintain your health care ?

I have to be absent for five years with "no intention to return" in order to be ineligible for health care, and even if that happens i just have to turn up back in Australia and it's all good.  The rule is more about working out whether you have to pay the Medicare Levy with your tax (if you meet the definition of ineligible you can claim an exemption) and I'll most likely still be paying it the whole time.
Title: Re: The ultimate retirement plan
Post by: grassy on April 14, 2015, 07:00:03 AM

If I understand our Federal and Provincial government rules, we can only be out of our country 7 months of the year and have to spend at least 4 months in our province...however, I am not sure how they can control that last piece because many folks work long term in other provinces but maintain their primary residence in this province.

I gather if you don't follow this, you get bumped off the plan. To get back on, you have to spend X number of months back in Canada and your home province.

It sounds like Auz is on the right track...I would rather pay the healthcare tax than conform with the occupancy rules.

Good luck with your travel plans.. they sound great.

Title: Re: The ultimate retirement plan
Post by: Alfa38User on April 15, 2015, 09:09:04 AM
The difference in Canada is that these periods are controlled by each province so the time away can vary from 6 months in Quebec to 7 months in some other provinces. (Quebec calculates differently though, it does not calculate absences less than two weeks in the "182 days yearly away" time.) I am not sure but I don't think that working outside your province counts against you unless you actually change domicile (ie move, get new drivers licence etc).

I agree, Austraila seems to have a better system as it is centrally controlled but here we have to deal with 13 different sets of rules when discussing them...
Title: Re: The ultimate retirement plan
Post by: Elly Dalmaijer on May 03, 2015, 11:13:05 PM
Living in Alberta Canada I feel I should remind you that, beautiful as our country is, summers are very short and certainly not 6 months. I would suggest that your time in Canada should be between mid-May and mid to late October if you want to avoid winter weather.

Another thing I learned this past winter:
Generally when you get your B-2 visa (6 months) this means that, if during these 6 months you leave the US for less than 30 days to visit another country, you are considered to have been that time in the USA. So for example: if you arrive on October 1 in the US, then fly back to Australia for Christmas from December 20 to January 2, then stay in the US until May 30 you have overstayed your visa.
In other words: leaving the country for less than 30 days does NOT start another 6 months period. We learned this almost the hard way when we spent this past winter in the US, went home for Christmas for 31 days, then back to the USa. When we asked the US customs officer in January whether we could get a new 6 months' visa he calculated the days we had been in Canada and told us of this rule. Had we been 4 weeks (28 days) in Canada, we would have been considered as not having left.

So you can not leave the USA for a few weeks into Canada and then expect to qualify for another 6 months visa. Do remember that required minimum 30 days' absence.

Title: Re: The ultimate retirement plan
Post by: Alfa38User on May 04, 2015, 08:17:25 AM

I think there are rules for Canadians and rules for "others" regarding the length of stay, leaving and returning. It likely depends on the Visa issued originally. As we do not require a formal Visa, ie no paperwork issued, the rules may be different. People visiting USA from Britain, Australia etc do have formal Visa's and  many have benefited from the "leave USA for xxx time, and then re-enter thus resetting the clock.

You are correct on the way we Canadians are treated though.