I recently learned from the internet that the U.S. Senate is considering changing immigration rules that could bring more Canadian snowbirds to Florida and obviously to other states.
New legislation will allow those aged 55 and older to obtain a Canadian Retiree Visa permitting them to stay as long as eight months in the United States. To qualify for the visa, they must own a second home, have a rental agreement or hotel reservation.
Currently, there is a six-month limit; thus the new legislation will allow Canadians to stay about 30 percent longer. But that six-month limit translates in reality into four-month limit, if you want to visit the USA for three years in a row. That is because you should pay to the USA government taxes on your world-wide income, if you stay in the USA for more than 183 days during last three years including the current year. Simple math says that you can stay for 120 days in the current year, 40 days in previous year (i.e. one-third of 120) and 20 days in the year before the previous (i.e. one-sixth of 120) totaling to 180 days over three years. The U.S. tax laws also should be changed so the Canadians can enjoy longer stay in the Sunbelt states without paying income taxes if they spend up to eight months there.
Of course, the real estate agents south of the border believe that the new legislation will give the second-home market a boost, making real estate purchases more cost effective for Canadians. Also, they believe that the law would give other sectors of the economy a boost as well, from restaurants to resorts to construction.
Of course, snowbirds would need Canada to loosen rules that require them to spend at least six months of the year at home in order to preserve their eligibility for national health insurance. Interestingly, only Newfoundland and Labrador allow residents to keep their health coverage while spending eight months abroad.