eMail Article To a Friend View Printable Version Subscribe to 'CEN-TA Cross Border Services - Tax, Visa'

Alien Commuters: U.S. Resident Status Without U.S. Residence

Greg Boos J.D.

An earlier version of this article appeared in the 1993-1994 Immigration & Nationality Law Handbook, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Washington, DC, 1993.

Aliens admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents (LPRs) or as special agricultural workers (SAWs) with temporary residence may reside in either Canada or Mexico and commute to places of employment in the United Sates without loss of immigration status. Such "alien commuter" status may be obtained either at the time of original entry as a resident of the United States, or thereafter, if the alien has LPR or SAW status.

This article reviews the basics of alien commuter status as well as some of its associated benefits and drawbacks. Practitioners can use the alien commuter category to add creativity and flexibility to immigration options available to their clients who reside in Canada and Mexico (particularly those whose employment is relatively close to the border). Alien commuter status allows such clients to retain their foreign residences and proximity to relatives and loved ones, benefit from tax laws on concurrent business concerns in both the United Sates and the home country, and for Canadians, maintain subsidized health insurance coverage and other social benefits.