How long can I stay in the US year after year.

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MartyB

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Hi gang.
I am a very simple guy who needs things explained to me fairly easily since some of my comprehension has diminished after my stroke.
We want to start going down south for the winters.  Not always the same place.  Just where it is warm.  I am confused with how long I can stay in the US every year.  Is it 183 days every year if I fill out form 8840.  Or 120 days per year with the form.  Or is there another form to stay the 183 days.  Or is it not worth the effort to fill out the form and just stay 120 days?
 

Hfx_Cdn

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If you do a search you will find several strings that cover the subject.  However, this is my understanding of the laws that apply.
1) You don't say, but from your comments I assume you are a Canadian resident.  If so, each province has limited the time you can be out of province and retain your medical coverage.  Most provinces have set that time at either 6 or 7 months.
2) US border patrol enforces tourist visas, including the informal one for Canadians, as 6 months in any given year.  They define a year as any 12 month period, so it is a rolling 12 months, and can straddle 2 calendar years.
3)  The IRS requires all US residents to file an income tax form.  The US is only 1 of 2 countries that claims worldwide income, so you must follow these rules carefully or you could be in jeopardy of owing taxes.  The IRS, defines their year as a calendar year, so, January 1 to December 31.  If you look at the referenced form 8840 you will note they calculate the number of days as 100% of the current year, and I think 30% of the previous plus 20% of the second previous year.
    All that said, you need to keep good records and copies of forms submitted.  Border patrol are now being very meticulous and you will be turned away if you overstay your allowed number of days, plus possibly barred from entry for extended periods.

Ed
 

Hfx_Cdn

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    Sarge, Stu has covered this topic much better than I did over several strings.  Marty, sorry I missed your ON on the signature line.

Ed
 

Alfa38User

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The 8840 form has nothing to do with your length of stay in USA. It is a tax form that declares that you are taxed in Canada and not subject to the USA tax system, even though you are required to do some calculations for the length of stay over the last 3 years. Those calculations only dictate whether you are obliged to submit an 8840 form or not.

The current length of stay for Canadians in USA is 180 days as explained  by Hfx_Cdn . There have been a number of attempts to extend that for retired persons but nothing has come of it yet as the US lawmakers have yet to act on it. More information on that can be found on the Canadian Snowbirds  site at www.snowbirds.org

There are also limits set by each of the provinces for the length of time you can be away from your home province and retain your medicare coverage. The actual time away has also been changing with many provinces increasing the time away allowance to 7 months. Check your Ontario time limits with OHIP. Quebec has not yet made these changes, but then again, the Quebec calculation is done differently as short absences (e.g. 2 weeks) do not count in the yearly limits.

Lots of good current information can be found on the Snowbirds site noted above.
 

Alfa38User

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Not sure how I managed to post this as quote originally, but I did. Quote now removed. Note the small changes/additions in this version

The 8840 form has nothing to do with your length of stay in USA. It is a tax form that declares that you are taxed in Canada and not subject to the USA tax system, even though you are required to do some calculations for the length of stay over the last 3 years. Those calculations only dictate whether you are obliged to submit an 8840 form or not.

The current length of stay for Canadians in USA is 183 days (but the term 6 months seems to be preferred) as explained  by Hfx_Cdn . There have been a number of attempts to extend that for retired persons but nothing has come of it yet as the US lawmakers have yet to act on it. More information on that can be found on the Canadian Snowbirds  site at www.snowbirds.org

There are also limits set by each of the provinces for the length of time you can be away from your home province and retain your medicare coverage. The actual time away has also been changing with many provinces increasing the time away allowance to 7 months. Check your Ontario time limits with OHIP. Quebec has not yet made these changes, but then again, the Quebec calculation is done differently as short absences (e.g. 2 weeks) do not count in the yearly limits.

Lots of good current information can be found on the Snowbirds site noted above.

 

Hfx_Cdn

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    Stu, although I agree that the form 8840 is an IRS form, and does not actually restrict the number of days we are allowed in the US, it is nonetheless a major consideration for foreigners who spend a long time in the US.  I certainly would not want the IRS to come calling with their hand out for taxes on income earned in Canada.
    As for getting picky, there is an article on the CTV website today about a Canadian investor who was denied entry because he had invested in an American cannabis company.  Although off topic, it is an indication that you must be meticulous.  Here is the article:  https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/why-investing-in-pot-could-pose-problems-at-the-u-s-border-1.4011813

Ed
 

darsben

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U.S. citizens can help their Canadian cousins by letting their local members of Congress know that they support longer entry times for Canadians.
A bill is usually sponsored every couple of years or so by a border state. It is then voted against by the full house and senate. Even some Arizona and Florida congressmen vote against it, even though Canadians pump LOTS of money into the local economy. In Casa Grande when the Canadian contingent starts leaving there is a noticeable drop off in the crowds at restaurants, groceries etc.
WE Shoot ourselves in the foot
 

Alfa38User

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Hfx_Cdn said:
    Stu, although I agree that the form 8840 is an IRS form, and does not actually restrict the number of days we are allowed in the US, it is nonetheless a major consideration for foreigners who spend a long time in the US.  I certainly would not want the IRS to come calling with their hand out for taxes on income earned in Canada.
    As for getting picky, there is an article on the CTV website today about a Canadian investor who was denied entry because he had invested in an American cannabis company.  Although off topic, it is an indication that you must be meticulous.  Here is the article:  https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/why-investing-in-pot-could-pose-problems-at-the-u-s-border-1.4011813

Ed

You are absolutely right Ed!! After about 2 seasons of 140 days or so each, the formula will dictate the need to file a 8840. I have heard of people being asked at the border if they file one but, personally, I have never been asked. (I usually have a copy of the latest one on by computer just in case!!) I have also been surprised by the number of my Canadian Snowbird acquaintances that have never even heard of this form and thus never filed one!!
 

Hfx_Cdn

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    It never was a problem until US Homeland Security forced us to change our laws to provide the US with information as to when we cross back over.  It took a while, but I am told that is now in place, so they can tell to the second when we we crossed into the US and when we left.

Ed
 
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