How Long Can a Canadian Stay in the US?

(Below is a transcription of this video)

We are asked, especially during the winter season, how long can a Canadian stay in the US. How long can a Canadian visit in the US? Well, there’s a real misconception out there and I want to try to clear it up once and for all. Most people think that you can stay as a Canadian in the United States for a maximum of six months in a calendar year. That’s just not the case. There’s nowhere in the law, at least as far as I know, that actually says that. Canadian snowbirds, for example, often come to the United States to the southern states to avoid the winter and they stay for an extended period and often they’re very nervous about overstaying more than six months in a given year. The rule of thumb really is this, that at any given time when you enter the United States if it’s longer than six months you may have to apply for an extension or leave and then return if you wish to return.

How Long Can a Canadian Stay in the US Each Year

So my point is that in any given visit it should not exceed six months, but that doesn’t mean that in a calendar year your cumulative or total visitation in the United States cannot extend beyond six months. Now, that doesn’t mean that if you are a frequent border crosser, if you’re constantly coming to the United States and spending extended periods, a custom’s official at the port of entry won’t stop you and prevent you from entering. The officer may believe that you have abandoned Canada and you really are living permanently in the United States and the officer has the authority to refuse your entry on that basis, because they don’t believe you are a temporary visitor anymore, in fact you are really permanently living in the United States. But technically if you show that you have ties to Canada, that you are visiting the United States and you’re spending a lot of time there but yet you are still a genuine visitor, you can stay longer than six months in total in a given year. There’s nothing legally preventing you from doing that.

Tax Implications 

Now, there also are tax implications. Now, I’m not a tax specialist. If you do stay for an extended period, you may have to file tax forms to the IRS, beyond six months. Again, you can speak with a tax professional for that advice, but from an immigration perspective, so long as you maintain your ties to Canada, I’m talking about Canadian citizens, you can stay longer than six months total, cumulatively in a given year. So hopefully this has cleared up some common misconceptions for snowbirds especially. Thank you and have a great day. If you liked this video click like and join us at

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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