living in US - Need a visa -


Hi I am planning on buying a house just over the border in Washington. Everything else I will leave here in Canada, banking accounting medical car insurance etc. I will be crossing the border almost weekly Can you tell me what the stipulations are for something like this and the downfalls.

david ingram replies:

I give you an older answer which although not the exact same question, will give you an idea.  You can NOT live in a house in Washington State and commute daily or weekly to Canada unless you have a visa to live in the USA.  If y9u have a full blown residence in Canada and are talking about  a vacation place, the answer would be different.


Could you please advise me as to the following:

1)     Can an individual relocate from Calgary, AB to New Orleans, LA?  If so, does the Canadian have to have a USA citizen to sponsor them?  If so, what are the particulars on this?

2)      Can a Canadian work in the USA immediately upon arrival?

3)      Having rental property left in Canada, is that classified as rental tax under USA tax laws?

4)      If a relocation is possible, and working in the USA, how does one file their yearly taxes from their USA wages, as well as their rental property back in Canada?  In addition, how does one file taxes on Canadian investments?

Thank you very much.



Calgary, AB  T2P


david ingram replies

This question is too general to answer.  A 300 page book could be written and still not cover it.

1.    There are no restrictions between Calgary and New Orleans.  They are cities.  A person can relocate from anywhere in Canada to anywhere in the US if:

a.    They are a dual citizen or have a US E5 visa (requires investment of $500,000 to $1,000,000), an E! or an E2 visa (requires major investment)

b.    They have a valid work permit as an H1, L1, TN, O1. In general, this means that they have a valid job offer and the company is sponsoring them.  

c.   They are a diplomat

d.   They have married an American and are being sponsored by their US spouse

e.   They have an American parent who is living in the USA and is sponsoring them

f.   They are an internationally recognized entertainer or athlete and qualify for a P1 which is the only visa one can apply for without an existing employer.

g.   They won the diversity lottery but people born in Canada do not qualify to enter this, OR, I guess

h   they put in an application 16 years ago and it has come up.

Go to and  click on 'Entering the USA' in th second box down on the right hand side for more info on individual visas and their requirements  for the H1, L1, TN, etc.  or just click here

2.   If they have a visa, yes.

3.   If you leave a rental property in Canada, you need to fill in Canadian forms T1161, 1243 and 1244 with your departing tax return due by April 30th of the year after you leave and you need to file form NR6 BEFORE  you leave.

4.   It is then treated as a Section 216(4) return with forms T1139 and T776 filed each year to report the rent to Canada.  The figures would then be converted to US dollars and reported again on the US return on schedules E and 4562. If any tax was paid to Canada, you would claim a foreign tax credit on the US 1040 by filling in form 1116.

If you had other investments in Canada, the financial institutions in Canada should withhold 10% tax on interest and 15% tax on dividends before you are paid the investment return. If you are a non-resident, there is no Canadian tax on capital gains for publicly traded shares.  However, your shares and mutual funds and bonds and any other investment have to be reported on the 1161 from mentioned above and may be subject to departure tax.

Hi there,
I'm a Canadian Citizen living in New Westminster. I cannot afford to buy a house in this area (Lower Mainland). I have found some affordable properties south of the border, in Blaine and surroundings. >From a financial and commuting standpoint, it makes perfectly sense to buy a property there, and commute daily to my job in Vancouver. But I have no idea what the legal implications would be, on both sides of the border. Would you please tell me if it makes sense, from a legal point of view and if possible at all?
Thank you very much.
david ingram replies:

Unless you are an American citizen and / or married to a US citizen or marry a US citizen who will sponsor you to live in the US, it is out of the question.

Nothing stops you from buying a house in Blaine and spending Friday Sat and Sun night every week and keeping an apartment in Vancouver for the four nights a week (have to be in Canada more than the US for US border rules and BC Medical) but you can't be sleeping in the US every night or living in the US without a 'live there' visa and there is not any 'live there' visa.

And if you can afford the Blaine House, the commuting gas AND the Vancouver Apt, you can likely really afford to buy something smaller in the lower Mainland.

If you could get a US employer to hire you as a management consultant or scientific technician or computer system analyst or librarian, etc., one day a week  in Bellingham, you could get a TN visa which would have to be renewed every year but MC TN visas are hard to get.

The reason for the one day a week suggestion is that you could still work in Vancouver.

The problem is that to live in the USA, visas are only for employees or spouses as a rule.  You can apply for a green card but the last I looked it was over 15 years waiting time.

goto and read the 'Entering the USA' section in the second box down on the right hand side.

Last, but not least, if you do manage to make the move by marrying an American, your BC medical is canceled because you have to 'live in BC' and 'make your home' in BC to qualify. If you have extended medical benefits at work, they are also canceled because you need the basic plan to qualify.  To replace a good corporate medical plan in BC will cost you $400 to $600 a month US.


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This is not intended to be definitive but in general I am quoting $900 to $3,000 for a dual country tax return.

$900 would be one T4 slip one W2 slip one or two interest slips and you lived in one country only (but were filing both countries) - no self employment or rentals or capital gains - you did not move into or out of the country in this year.
$1,200 would be the same with one rental
$1,300 would be the same with one business no rental
$1,300 would be the minimum with a move in or out of the country. These are complicated because of the back and forth foreign tax credits. - The IRS says a foreign tax credit takes 1 hour and 53 minutes.
$1,600 would be the minimum with a rental or two in the country you do not live in or a rental and a business and foreign tax credits  no move in or out

$1,700 would be for two people with income from two countries

$3,000 would be all of the above and you moved in and out of the country.
This is just a guideline for US / Canadian returns
We will still prepare Canadian only (lives in Canada, no US connection period) with two or three slips and no capital gains, etc. for $200.00 up. However, if you have a stack of 1099, or T3 or T4A or T5 or K1 reporting forms, expect to pay an average of $10.00 each with up to $50.00 for a K1 or T5013 or T5008 or T101 --- Income trusts with amounts in box 42 are an even larger problem and will be more expensive. - i.e. 20 information slips will be at least $350.00
With a Rental for $400, two or three rentals for $550 to $700 (i.e. $150 per rental) First year Rental - plus $250.
A Business for $400 - Rental and business likely $550 to $700
And an American only (lives in the US with no Canadian income or filing period) with about the same things in the same range with a little bit more if there is a state return.
Moving in or out of the country or part year earnings in the US will ALWAYS be $900 and up.
TDF 90-22.1 forms are $50 for the first and $25.00 each after that when part of a tax return.
8891 forms are generally $50.00 to $100.00 each.
18 RRSPs would be $900.00 - (maybe amalgamate a couple)
Capital gains *sales)  are likely $50.00 for the first and $20.00 each after that.

Catch - up returns for the US where we use the Canadian return as a guide for seven years at a time will be from $150 to $600.00 per year depending upon numbers of bank accounts, RRSP's, existence of rental houses, self employment, etc. Note that these returns tend to be informational rather than taxable.  In fact, if there are children involved, we usually get refunds of $1,000 per child per year for 3 years.  We have done several catch-ups where the client has received as much as $6,000 back for an $1,800 bill and one recently with 6 children is resulting in over $12,000 refund. 

Email and Faxed information is convenient for the sender but very time consuming and hard to keep track of when they come in multiple files.  As of May 1, 2008, we will charge or be charging a surcharge for information that comes in more than two files.  It can take us a valuable hour or more  to try and put together the file when someone sends 10 emails or 15 attachments, etc. We had one return with over 50 faxes and emails for instance. 

This is a guideline not etched in stone.  If you do your own TDF-90 forms, it is to your advantage. However, if we put them in the first year, the computer carries them forward beautifully.


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