Sunday, February 23, 2014


Just received an e-mail from a friend with the following information.  Perhaps it might be helpful to some people.


Here are notes that we took at the Canadian Snowbirds Meeting ( February 19, 2014).


  • Canada has developed a new 10 year passport at a cost of $160. The five year passport is still available but costs $120.

  • In terms of length of time Canadians can be out of province and maintain their provincial health care, BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario allow 7 months while Saskatchewan allows 6 but CSA is working on increasing it to 7 months. Note that the 7 months includes trips anywhere out of province.

  • USA passed the JOLT bill in the Senate that would allow Canadians to stay in the US for up to 8 months but it still has to pass in the House of Representatives. This may happen in 2014. Once passed, it would be a Retiree Visa, type B-2, available to Canadians over 50, and that would be renewable every 3 years. It is not known if this would be free for Canadians.

  • Good idea to create a Border Binder that would include:

    • Copy of property deed or lease agreement that proves that you have a permanent home in Canada

    • Property Tax Bill

    • Utility Bills covering the 12 month period prior to entering the USA

    • Copies of credit card bills and bank statements from Canadian banks

    • Auto and home insurance policies

    • Travel insurance policies

    • Total amount of US and Canadian funds being brought into Canada – Be sure to give them the exact amount of each currency, if asked. Never say “about”. Always say the exact amount per person.

    • Vehicle registration for RV, tow vehicles, etc.

    • Copy of IRS form 8840 that has to be completed and sent in annually. The filing date for 2013 is June 15, 2014. This is the form that proves that you have a closer tie to Canada than to the US and needs to be completed by both husband and wife. The number of days calculated over a three year period in this form has nothing to do with the US Immigration calculation of number of days (see below). Consequences of not filing this form and not being able to prove that you have a closer tie to Canada include not allowing you into the US, or making you pay US income tax on your Canadian earnings and pensions, or a $10,000 fine per year.


  • Canadian and US border officials are now exchanging information on when you enter the US and when you enter into Canada, so they will both know exactly how long you were in the US. Eventually, Canada and the US will share the same building at border crossings to further facilitate the exchange of information.

  • DO NOT earn any money or obtain goods in exchange for work or earn interest in a US bank account. If you do, you will have to file a US income tax return.

  • 800,000 Canadians come to the US for three weeks or more every year. 35% of them have no travel health insurance. The average cost of a one day hospital stay in the US is $1,800. Alberta Heath Care reimburses Alberta residents in the amount of $100 per day while BC Medical reimburses its residents in the amount of $75 per day. A long hospital stay without travel insurance can cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  • CSA endorses the Medipac travel insurance company. We have no personal experience with this company, Medipac has no upper age limit for obtaining travel insurance, have a loyalty discount of 1% per year for a max of seven years, and has a Medipac Plus option for $39 that has more benefits than the standard policy.

  • Currently, Canadians are allowed to be in the US for a total of 182 days in any contiguous 12 month period. This is the US Immigration rule on number of days in the US and has nothing to do with the US IRS calculation of days in form 8840. Keep a record in your border binder in case you are required to prove this to border officials. Remember that even if you go across the border for less than one day it counts as a whole day and ..... it counts against the 182 days.

  • Declare everything, including repairs to vehicles done in the US. The limit is $800 per person.

  • Just answer the border official's questions. Don't volunteer anything.

  • When asked how long you will be in the US, tell them the number of months. They get confused if you tell them the number of days.

  • Remove sunglasses and ensure that the border official can see you.

  • In the spirit of putting US citizens to work, if a friend who is Canadian helps you work on your RV or building a deck or shed, etc., an American can report your friend and he/she can be banned from the US for some number of years. Be careful with this issue.


  1. So they can hear what we're saying eh.....Oh-Oh!!

  2. Thanks for the update and letting people know, we are very careful with following the rules.

  3. Great info....thanks for the update.

  4. Big BROTHERS are watching and hearing you!

  5. So I have to remember not to let my Canadian friends help me?!!! Wow!

  6. Border binder - huh, that's bs. $120 up from $65 that's robbery.

  7. I live by the border and cross 2-3 times per week. Two weeks ago the US border agent asked me if I could prove my ties to Canada, such as a utility bill or a tax bill; something current with my Canadian address. I didn't have anything with me other than my word. He let me go but now I carry a current power bill with me at least. They are getting more strict. Thanks for the reminders.

  8. Good information. Thanks for gathering and posting it.

  9. Lots to think about now, guess we have to print off our on line bills.

  10. Denis, what kind insurance do you have or recommend during the traveling to USA

  11. This was really interesting especially the point that they can hear what you say while at the boarder... sitting in your vehicle... just talk about what's for lunch. Even for us Yanks out here, thanks for the great info and I've finally caught up to a single posting reading. I'm a full timer wantabe. Maybe a year and counting. Travel safely.