At Travel Insurance File, we get plenty of interesting questions from readers like you—be they looking to purchase travel insurance coverage or simply confused about how much time they can spend in the US.
Here’s a look at some of the questions you’ve asked us lately…
Q: We are retired Canadian residents who plan to spend a few months out of province this winter. Is there an insurance plan we can buy to cover us on day trips to the United States?
A: Absolutely. The best is a multi-trip annual plan. You pick a certain number of days—say 7 or 15 or 30, etc., whatever the insurer is offering—and you can take as many trips of your selected duration over the course of a year as you like. And you don’t even need to tell your insurer when you’re going. The best part is this is a lot cheaper than buying single-trip coverage each time you travel.
Q: Why do I need to file form 8840 if I don’t intend to stay in the USA for more than 182 days?
A: If you’re only talking about one year and not a multi-year commitment to spending 182 days in the US, there’s no reason for you to bother with an 8840. But if you plan on living in the US seasonally for a number of years, and if you meet the Substantial Presence Test as it is outlined in the 8840, then you might become a resident for tax purposes and you would be required to pay taxes to the IRS. The 8840 is designed to show that you are a Canadian, that you have a closer connection to Canada, and that you would therefore be exempted from paying taxes to the IRS.
Learn More: As Border Controls Tighten Up, Know the Limits
Q: I am a Canadian in a relationship with a US citizen. Is there any way that I can spend more than 182 days in the US? Is there some kind of sponsorship we could use? Would it help if we decided to marry? And what about health insurance in the US—will I be eligible for Medicare under my partner’s policy?
A: There is no way that you will be able to visit your partner for more than 182 days over any 12-month period on a visitor’s B2 visa, and there is no practical way to sponsor a non-family member in the US. But there is a device called the K-1 visa (otherwise known as the fiancé visa) that is tailor-made for you if you are really, really serious. The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her US citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). That’s the official version, and it’s used a lot—when you have two consenting adults. It also tends to focus the mind on the seriousness of one’s intentions. (You can read more about it on the US State Department website.)
As for health insurance, that’s a different matter. By becoming a permanent resident of the US, you would cease to be a Canadian resident and would lose your provincial health benefits. You would need to find private health insurance in the US, and that is no easy task. You would not be eligible for your partner’s Medicare. You might be able to buy into Medicare but it would be expensive. Until you find private insurance, getting an international health insurance plan might be an option, at least in the short term.
What you are describing is not a unique situation. Good luck.