How Long Can a Canadian Snowbird Stay in the US 2021?

By Michael Niren February 3, 2015 (Updated November 19, 2021) 3 min. read
snowbirds

Important: Due to the spread of Coronavirus, there have been recent changes regarding travel to and from Canada and the United States. For more information on this topic, please visit our pages on the latest updates on Canadian Coronavirus impact and United States Coronavirus impact on immigration.

If you are a Canadian considering staying beyond your maximum stay in the US due to COVID-19, you may have the chance to extend your stay. Speak with an immigration professional!


We are asked often, especially in the winter season, how long can a Canadian stay in the United States? This question has a few misconceptions and it’s important to know the answer so your don’t overstay your visit. Those who overstay their visit can expect complications down the road.

Canadian snowbirds often come to the United States to the southern states to avoid the winter and they stay for an extended period.

How Long Can a Canadian Stay in the United States?

The period of time a Canadian can stay in the US is based on your unique case and whether you are entering on a visa or not. A Canadian can stay in the US for 6 months from the date of entry, BUT any exit and reentry reset the clock, so to say. Of course, Canadians should be careful doing this, as too many exits and re-entries within a given period might cause CBP officers to infer an intent to reside on the part of the Canadian visitor.

Extending Your Stay in the US

The good news is, if you need to stay in the US longer than 6 months as a Canadian, you have the option to extend your stay! You can do this by filing a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status before your authorized stay expires through the USCIS.

Canadians Paying Taxes in the US

Another important thing Canadians need to keep in mind when staying in the US is tax laws. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has guidelines in place that Canadians must comply with. If you do stay for an extended period, you may have to file tax forms to the IRS, beyond six months.

You can determine your liability to taxation through the substantial presence test. This test calculates how many days you have stayed in the United States for over three years. The three years include the current running year and the past two years.

US Tax Treaty Exemption

You can also claim exemption under the Canada–US Tax Treaty. You can refer to the Treaty tiebreaker rules to claim that you’re still a Canadian citizen after staying in the US for over 182 days.

The decision as to whether or not to grant you the benefit depends on the following factors:

How Long Can a Canadian Snowbird Keep Their Provincial Health Insurance?

When staying in the United States as a Canadian, you also need to make sure you aren’t absent from your province for too long. Staying outside of your Canadian province for too long can affect your provincial health care coverage. All provinces, except Ontario and Newfoundland, require you to actually live in your home province for at least six months plus a day (183 days in most years) in order to be considered a permanent resident of that province, and therefore qualified for provincial health insurance benefits.

Traveling from Canada to the US

The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) is pleased to provide this travelers checklist filled with handy tips on health, home, and travel. Canadian’s Travelers Checklist will help you be prepared to travel to the US for an extended amount of time.

Have You Overstayed Your US Visit?

If so, Contact VisaPlace today. All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for VisaPlace Legal an award-winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

Ready for the next step? Book your 1 on 1 consultation now or call us at 1-888-317-5770.

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