Canadian Snowbird Visa Act: Owners, renters of homes in U.S. can visit longer

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Signs Hang on the entrance way to Canada via the Rainbow Bridge on March 18, 2020, in Niagara Falls N.Y. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have agreed to close the U.S Canada border to non-essential travel in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but trade will not be affected. (AP / Jeffrey T. Barnes)

WASHIGNTON, D.C. (WWTI) — Legislation has been introduced to extend the visiting period for Canadian citizens in the United States.

The Canadian Snowbird Visa Act was introduced to the United States House of Representatives, aiming to extend the amount of time Canadians who own or lease a home in the United States can visit by two months.

The current law limits the time Canadian visitors may spend in the United States to 182 days per year. This new legislation would allow Canadian citizens over the age of 50, who either own or rent a residence in the U.S. to remain in the country for up to 240 days annually.

Additionally, the prohibits individuals from working for United States employers or seeking public assistance while in the U.S., and clarifies that they will retain their nonresident tax status.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-NY, who introduced this legislation with Congressman Peter Welch, D-VT, added that Canadian visitors provide a significant economic boost to local communities. Specifically, Canadian visitors spend over $20 million in the United States in 2019. In New York, nearly four million Canadians visit annually and spend $1.5 billion.

“Our neighbors to the north provide more visits to the United States than any other country, and they are critically important to North Country tourism and industry,” Congresswoman Stefanik said. “As we continue to urge the Biden Administration to reciprocate on Canada’s recent actions and reopen the northern border altogether, providing Canadians who own homes and property in the United States with extra time to visit and boost our economy will help revive Canadian tourism to the United States after an unprecedented closure of the northern border.”

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas added, “as we continue to work towards eventual reopening of the border to Canadian visitors, we continue to want to encourage them to enjoy their travels here as much as possible. While snowbirds are often thought of as going to Florida, a great many come to the North Country and Vermont for extended stays as well, in second homes and boats for example, and the longer they can stay, the more they will contribute economically. It’s important that while we focus on border reopening, we also continue to pursue other opportunities for the longer term.”

The Canadian Snowbird Visa Act is cosponsored by Representatives Jack Bergman, R-MI; Bill Foster, D-IL; Michael Waltz, R-FL; Ted Deutch, D-FL; Tom Rice, R-SC; Ken Buck, R-CO; David Schweikert, R-AZ; Buddy Carter, R-GA; and Brian Mast, R-FL.

The full legislation can be read on U.S. Congress website.

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