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I have a quick question. I am a Canadian born citizen travelling (with my Canadian passport) and I have been traveling back and forth from Canada to the US to visit my boyfriend with my longest stay in the US this year being for 34 days. My question is I am reaching the 180 day mark for the year and was wondering if the visits were counted by calendar year (January - December) or from the date of entry. I’d still like to go in November (which would use up my last 12 days) as well as in December but only for 3 weeks per time. However the December trip will put me over the 180 days for the year.

Also, is it possible if you go over the 180 day mark for a year to be barred from returning to Canada (do they care how long you were gone for)? I apologize if this seems a bit off for a question but it is something I am worried about and would like to comply with the requirements.

I do return to Canada for longer than what I was away for and have never been pulled into secondary. I have the funds to support my trips.

Whenever asked I always say the purpose of my trips is to go to Disney, since he lives in Orlando.

  • I have edited the question: I am a Canadian citizen that travels on a B2 Visa (pleasure) each time. – Melanie591 Sep 7 at 9:28
  • Whenever I travel it asks for the purpose of the trip and qualifies you as either a B1 (business) or a B2 (pleasure) which is what they stamp your passport with upon admittance to the US. I have a Canadian passport as I was born in Canada and have lived here for 28 years. – Melanie591 Sep 7 at 9:31
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    OK, so you don't actually have a visa, you are entering in B2 status. It's extremely important to be clear and accurate for issues like this. – Michael Hampton Sep 7 at 9:32
  • I apologize, I assumed the passport was a visa. Sorry, this is why I asked the question because I have no clue. – Melanie591 Sep 7 at 9:33
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    You can’t be barred from returning to Canada if you’re a Canadian citizen. – Traveller Sep 7 at 10:10
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There is one US law limiting your stay and both the US and Canada have some legislation which has potentially undesired consequences if you spend a lot of time in the USA.

Number one on the US side is immigration. You are admitted as a visitor and may stay for up to six months in one visit. Repeat visits are at the discretion of the border officer. There is no written rule like the Schengen zone in the EU has for how many days you can spend in a given time period in the USA. We have a letter from the CBP on this site claiming their rule of thumb is 91 days after a 90 day stay but it's unclear whether they apply that rule to Canadians (90 days is an ESTA limit) and what's the rule of thumb for shorter stays.

Then you need to consider US tax. There is a Substantial Presence Test but also Conditions for a Closer Connection to a Foreign Country which says:

Even if you meet the substantial presence test, you can still be treated as a nonresident alien if you:

Are present in the United States for less than 183 days during the year,

Maintain a tax home in a foreign country during the year [...]

Have a closer connection during the year to one foreign country in which you have a tax home than to the United States

Now on to the Canadian rule: All provinces, except Ontario and Newfoundland, require you to actually live in your home province for at least six months plus a day (183 days in most years) in order to be considered a permanent resident of that province, and therefore qualified for provincial health insurance (medicare) benefits. Ontario allows you to be out of the country for 212 days (seven months) and Newfoundland for eight months without risking loss of your medicare benefits.

Thus most Canadians do not wish to stay more than 183 days in the USA a year making the immigration limitations quite a bit moot.

Finally, a country always admits its citizens at the borders. That is the very meaning of being a citizen.(If they are capable of proving they are citizens indeed and the airline allowed them to board -- neither is a problem while you have a valid passport, the fun starts after. For the Canada-US border you do not need to fly, you could drive or even Crossing from Canada to the USA without a passport on public transit?)

  • Tax law doesn't literally "limit Canadians' stay in the US"; it just causes them to have to report their worldwide income to the US and figure US income tax on that basis of they exceed 183 days on the US in a year. Don't forget the "closer connection" exception to the substantial presence test, which is not rare at all and explains how snowbirds and the like stay in the US for six months year after year without becoming tax residents. – phoog Sep 7 at 12:42
  • @phoog edited my post. – chx Sep 7 at 17:00
  • It says on the health care website that it’s in any 12 month period, is it cumulative? – Melanie591 Sep 8 at 12:04
  • It's impossible to say without seeing the website's text and knowing who or what agency is responsible. What's the website's URL? – David Sep 10 at 1:27
  • Calendar year. It's not one website, it's each province, www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/… this is BC "must be physically present in B.C. at least six months in a calendar year, ... Eligible B.C. residents who are outside B.C. for vacation purposes only, are allowed a total absence of up to seven months in a calendar year. – chx Sep 10 at 2:00

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