Are there different U.S. residency rules for Canadian snowbirds?

04/08/2019
Question:

I’ve heard there are different rules for how long Canadians can stay in the U.S. for immigration purposes and for tax purposes. Can you explain the difference please?

Answer:

You are correct, there are two different sets of rules – one for tax purposes and one for immigration purposes.

A common misconception among Canadian snowbirds is that there is only one set of rules to comply with. This misconception can lead to the misapplication of the rules, resulting in a variety of negative consequences.

Tax rules deal with how long you can stay in the U.S. before you are considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes. Violating these rules by spending too much time in the U.S. or failing to file the required forms with the IRS can lead to serious adverse tax and financial consequences. You can learn more about U.S. tax rules for Canadian snowbirds here.

Immigration rules, on the other hand, dictate how much time you can spend in the U.S. in general. Spending too much time in the United States can lead to a number of adverse consequences when trying to enter the U.S., including increased scrutiny when crossing the border, being denied entry to the U.S. on a one-time basis or even being banned from entering the U.S. You can learn more about U.S. immigration rules for Canadian snowbirds here.

It’s essential for Canadians who spend time in the U.S. to comply with both sets of rules to avoid running into issues south of the border.