How long Canadians can stay out of country or out of province is one of the most frequent questions asked of TIF. And though you might think it would require a simple answer, I must admit it could get a little complicated. Consequently, it’s time for an update.
First is the issue of US immigration rules that apply equally to all Canadians, regardless of the province that you live in.
Canadians are allowed to visit the US for up to six months (182 days) per calendar year. Nationals of other countries are allowed only 90 days. You can accumulate those days by one long trip, or an aggregation of several short ones. (There is some pending legislation in the US Congress that would extend that period for Canadian snowbirds to 240 days, but predicting what might happen in Congress is a hazardous game and we will explore the ramifications of such a change when and IF it happens.) Stay tuned for news about that issue right here on TIF.
The other set of rules is applied by your province; these rules require you to be physically present in your home province for a specified number of days throughout the year in order to qualify for provincial health benefits. These rules have nothing to do with the American border control regulations or the way US border agents apply them. They are not linked except by the coincidence that they both have focused on the six-month threshold.
Recently, BC and Manitoba have extended their out-of-province allowance to seven months from six (as
Quebec takes a more liberal approach to out-of-province travel by not counting trips of less than 21 days against the 183-day residency requirement. But it also warns that it checks compliance with this rule and any person exceeding the 183 days will have to repay the Regie for any insured service provided to them during that particular year.
If you lose your health benefits, you would have to reapply for them. This can only be done by living in your province or territory for three months, and during this time, you would be without provincial health benefits. There are, however, private insurance plans that will cover you for that period. (Some advertisers on this website provide such plans. If you contact them, they can help find the best plans for your particular needs).
TIF has detailed the rules governing out-of-province travel (province by province) in a Snowbird e
–book that is available to all members of Snowbird Plus. This e Book also covers travel tips, cross-border regulations, and travel insurance guidelines.
Do you not see the answer to your question in the comments below? Feel free to get in touch with our experts for more assistance.
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