Yesterday afternoon the US Senate voted to approve the US Immigration Reform Bill with a final vote of 68-32 in favor of the bill. While some modifications to the bill were made in the Senate, the key provisions for Canadians have remained largely untouched.

These key provisions include Canadian/ Snowbird Tourism, and the US Retiree visa.

Under the Canadian Tourism provision, Canadians who are 55 years old and over may be admitted as visitors to the US for up to 240 days in a rolling 12 month period as long as they also meet the following requirements:

  • Canadian citizenship;
  • Over the age of 55;
  • Maintain a residence in Canada;
  • Own or rent a residence in the US;
  • Not otherwise inadmissible to the US;
  • No intent to work in the US; and
  • Will not seek public assistance.

The modified bill no longer requires that the spouse also meet the age requirements, as did the original version of the bill.

The US Retiree Visa allows retirees to reside full time in the US on a renewable 3 year visa. To qualify the applicant must generally meet the above requirements, though the applicant need not be Canadian, as well as the following:

  • Be able to show that on a date after the enactment of the Jolt Act (contained within the Immigration Reform Bill) that he or she has purchased one or more properties in the US worth a combined total of at least $500,000 USD;
  • Maintains ownership of residential property worth at least $500,000 during his or her stay;
  • Have US health insurance coverage; and
  • Reside in the US for at least 180 days per year.

The Immigration Reform Bill must now be reviewed and voted on by the US House of Representatives. Upon approval of the bill it will either return to the Senate, where any modifications made by the House must be reviewed and voted on, or if no modifications have been made, it will go to President Obama to be signed into law.

As always, we will continue to monitor the progress of the US Immigration Reform Bill, and keep you up-to-date on any important changes or milestones. For an overview of the Gang of Eight’s US Immigration Reform Bill please view our previous blog article.

Altro LLP is here to help you with your short and long term immigration & cross-border tax, estate and financial planning needs.

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. It is not intended to be attorney advertising or solicitation. If you have a legal question, please consult with a licensed attorney.