Canadian with green card wants to work in Canada, keep US residency.

Hi there,

My girlfriend is a Canadian citizen working as a landed immigrant (green card) in California. I live in Vancouver, and she has applied for a job here so we can be closer. However, she doesn't want to lose her green card. So at the moment we've planned that if she gets the job, she will live in Point Roberts and commute daily -- remaining a U.S. resident but working in Vancouver, paying taxes in both countries, etc.

So, a few questions. First, is this strategy even possible? Second, if so, do we need a consultation to sort it out? Third, if so, can you advise me how long/how much this consultation would be (it would probably have to be by phone).

david ingram replies:

At any time I will have 20 to 50 clients doing exactly what you are proposing.

She can move to Point Roberts or Blaine and commute to work in Vancouver.  she will pay full Canadian  taxes BUT will NOT qualify for  BC Medical coverage because she is not sleeping in BC.  she will also have to prepare a US tax return.  However, because she will have paid full taxes to Canada, the foreign tax credit will mean there is no tax payable to the US unless she has some other US source income.

She should start her application for US citizenship immediately if she has spent her time there already. Then, when she gets her US citizenship, she is free to come back to Canada and still return to the USA at will.

An alternative is to fill in US form I-131 which will give her the right to leave the US for up to a year at a time and still maintain her green card.  This must be filled in annually and means that any time she has accumulated towards citizenship is lost and she has to start over again. 

You would likely benefit from a phone consultation.  I charge $424.00 (inc GST) for up to an hour and you should phone (604) 980-0321 between 10:20 and 4:00 M to F and talk to Gillian Bryan to make an appointment.