Canadian Snowbirds article April 1994 at

This should properly be read in conjunction with the April 1994 newsletter.  This April 1994 newsletter was the basis for the CRA's Snowbird Pamphlet.

On 28/07/2010 6:17 PM, xxxxxx  xxxxxxxx wrote:

I found your April 1994 article on Snowbirds and cabins across the border....very interesting.  I was wondering if you would comment on the recent issue of the Canadian Snowbirds Association article which states

How long can I visit the U.S.?

A Canadian citizen who is granted entry into the United States under a B-2

Visitors Visa may be permitted to remain in the country for six months less

a day. This could be 181, 182 or 183 days, depending on the date on which

you enter. It is important to note that each time you enter the United States,

even just for a few hours, it counts as one day. Each day that you visit the

U.S. in a 12-month period will be counted and should be subtracted from

the “six months less a day” that you intend to visit the United States in the


Also, when you enter the U.S. for an extended period, such as six months,

shorter trips outside of the country departing from and returning to the

U.S. do not count as days that you can subtract from your “six months less

a day” count. This is the case even if you return to Canada for a week or two

during the holiday season.

It is important to note that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer

has the authority to limit your visit to the United States to any period of

time that he/she sees fit. So, do your best to be accommodating when they

question your intentions and length of stay. The wrong attitude could cost

you days in the sun.

For more information, visit and refer to the Travelers’

Information Guide. The revision dated February 1, 2010 and titled “How

Long Can I Visit?” provides specific information on this topic.


I can not find anything on the internet that supports the above concerning coming home for Xmas....that you can deduct those days from the 182 days.

I would really appreciate your opinion on this matter.  And I would also like to know if your 1994 article is still accurate...or have some laws changed?

Thank you

xxxx xxxxxxx

david ingram replies:

First of all, i agree with the article's premise that the US Customs and border Protection Officer is all powerful when you are crossing the border.


It may well be that the policies (as i understand them) have changed.

I have always understood that you re-qualify for your paperless B1 / B2 status each and every time you cross the border.  I have never heard that a Canadian gets six months on that first visit and then has to fit into that six months.

Normally, I would bow to anything that the Snowbird association said but i have just fixed a batch of tax returns for US citizens living in Canada and snowbirding who were told by 'someone' at the Snowbird association that they could file form 8848 and not fill in a 1040.  BAD, BAD, advice.

The 183 day rule is most important for the purposes of the Income tax return.

If you find yourself in the USA for more than 183 days in total for the year.  as in 5 months for the winter and a month in Alaska in the summer and a couple of other weeks, you must now file a US 1040 tax return.

Under the substantial presence test, if you are there for 125 days a year 3 years in a row, you need to file a form 8848 and a 1040NR for each of you.

I stand by the April 1994 newsletter (which anyone else can read in the top left hand corner at 

There are Homeland Security people who receive this and I welcome any comments they wish to make.

By the way, I am NOT on the radio program this next Sunday on Aug 1, 2010.    I will be entry 18 out of 145 in the Vancouver PRIDE parade.

If your question was not answered fully or you wish to go further, I am available for individual consultations by phone or email or in person for $450 per professional hour. 

Please also note that we prepare Canadian, US, Australian, UK and New Zealand returns on a mail in, email, fax, snail mail or couriered basis. At any time, our clients are in 40 countries or more.  They have every occupation from nuclear Submarine captains to FedEx pilots to Major Bank officers to Politicians, Diplomats and border patrol officers.  My favourite, however, is a penguin catcher in Antarctica among others there..

If you 'really' only have a single question requiring a 'couple' of minutes, you can try phoning me for free as part of the following.

- For a quick free question

You might try calling Fred Snyder's radio program for an answer on a Sunday Morning.. 

Fred Snyder's  "IT'S YOUR MONEY" radio show. on CISL,  650 AM on the dial in Vancouver from 9 to 11:00 AM every Sunday  (604) 280-0650 or (877) 280-0650 - You can listen live from anywhere in the world at from anywhere in the world. click on the button in the top left hand corner.
You might try calling Fred Snyder's weekly radio programs for an answer. 


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