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We are UK citizens who have property in USA. We have always visited three times a year for two weeks each time. We have now retired and can spend longer in USA but have no wish to stay permanently. We booked flights for 80 days in January, February and March then 85 days in September, October, November this year and hoped to repeat that pattern next year. We were held at border control in January as we had been for our usual three trips last year but were soon told that we were fine for this trip but we are now anxious about our next one. We believed that we had stuck to the rules of two trips per year of 90 days or less. Will we be okay for September? Can anyone give the exact ruling on what is possible?

closed as off-topic by JonathanReez, blackbird, Karlson, CGCampbell, JoErNanO Feb 1 '16 at 9:36

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    There's no rule is the issue. It's discretion of the border control officer. You could look in to something like cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry, or see if there are some ways of getting residency for retired property owners. – CMaster Jan 29 '16 at 11:05
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    A friend of mine is retired and he does exactly the same thing, for the past 10 years. He is a member of the Global Entry scheme now, but even before that, he had no problem entering under the VWP and I-94. However his stays are shorter than 90 days, but the total period is more than 180 days each year. Can you tell us what CBP said to you about your plans? Being detained for a secondary inspection doesn't necessarily mean you have done anything wrong. – Calchas Jan 29 '16 at 12:11
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    (On a separate issue, you may meet the substantial presence test for tax purposes, but if you have no US income it is only a short form to fill out each year. The tax issue does not affect immigration requirements.) – Calchas Jan 29 '16 at 12:12
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    Also note that you can get a B-2 visa if you would like to stay for more than 90 days at a time. – phoog Jan 29 '16 at 13:40
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    The tax issue is the big risk here. As best I can tell if the IRS decides you are a US tax resident you will be required to pay income tax to the IRS regardless of the source of the taxable benefit. Once that happens you will most likely need to hire a specialized tax accountant to file in both countries so that you aren't taxed twice. I know many Canadian snowbirds in that situation. It can be done, but it seems to regularly blow up into multi-year tax disputes that cost the taxpayer a small fortune to resolve. – alx9r Jan 29 '16 at 15:33