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Update on How Long Canadians Can Stay Out of the Country

4/14/11 • By Milan Korčok

NEW! An updated version of this article, with additional details, can be found here.

Since publishing our February report on how long Canadians can stay out of the country according to U.S. and provincial rules, we have been besieged by questions relating to readers’ specific situations. So let’s take another run at it, with a little more detail and updates.

First, let’s understand that there are two separate and distinct sets of rules that govern how long you can stay out of your own country and province.

The first is the U.S. rule that allows Canadian visitors to spend up to six months in that country in any given year. (This allowance is far more generous than the 90 days it grants visitors from other nations).

The second set of rules is the one applied by provincial health ministries that require you to be physically present in your home province for a specified time in order to qualify as a permanent resident, and therefore be eligible for medicare. For most provinces, that requirement is six months plus a day (183 days) spent at home. The exceptions are Ontario—which requires you to be present for only five months (153 days) and Newfoundland and Labrador which requires only four months (122 days). The remainder of the time you can be out of the province or out of the country.

In all cases, if you lose your medicare eligibility, you must reinstate it by being physically present in your province for a minimum of three consecutive months. During that time you will be without provincial health insurance.

According to U.S. rules, you can use your six month allotment in one trip, as many snowbirds do, or split up your trips into several shorter segments. The U.S. also calculates its allotments on monthly bases: example, from October 15 to April 15 (which actually is 184 days).

The provinces also differ slightly in the way they do their counting: the following provinces/territories require you to be physically present for at least 183 days per calendar year (whether in one stretch or in shorter segments):  B.C. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, PEI, NWT, Nunavut, Yukon.

Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador calculate their in-province residency requirements on “any 12-month period,” even if it overlaps from one year to the next. These differences may appear subtle, but the 12-month period criterion prevents residents of these provinces from fusing one full allowance at the end of one year, to another one at  the beginning of the next, so as to gain one big windfall. Obviously U.S. border agents would quickly catch on to this tactic.

Snowbirds who tend to settle in the sun for long periods, often six months at a stretch, sometimes complain that the provincial residency rules prevent them from travelling inter-provincially during the summer as they will have used up their out-of-province allotment. And though we don’t have border agents guarding provincial boundaries to check on who goes where within Canada, this does present a deterrent to inter-provincial travel later in the year.

Quebec has a more practical approach: it allows its residents to travel out of the province, or even out of the country, for short trips of up to 21 days without counting them against the 183-day per year residency requirement. The Regie, in  Quebec, however, warns its residents that it conducts checks to ensure compliance, and persons not following the rule will lose their health coverage for the entire year in which they contravened the 183-day rule, and will have to repay the costs of any medical services provided to them during that year.  Any questions?

Do you not see the answer to your question in the comments below? Feel free to get in touch with our experts for more assistance.


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  1. We are Alberta residents and Canadian citizens. Our 6 month snowbird status expires April 5. Is an extension available for illness?

    • Mary:

      I don’t understand your question. Are you asking if the Alberta government may revoke your medicare status for being out of the province too long? Or are you asking if the U.S. will sanction you for overstaying the six month limit? These are two separate set of rules.


  2. My wife and I are Americans with permanent landed immigrant status in Canada and live in Ontario. I see that Ontario allows us to be out of the province for 7 months.
    As Americans, can the US stop us from going into the country if we enter the US for more then 6 months?
    Secondly, we live in a border town. Are day trips to restaurants, visiting friends, sporting events counted as time out of province or by the US as a day in the country.

  3. You tell Canadians “The first is the U.S. rule that allows Canadian visitors to spend up to six months in that country in any given year. (This allowance is far more generous than the 90 days it grants visitors from other nations).” This is true but if additional days are logged in adjacent years some special laws come into play and may impact on one’s tax/income situations. Most snowbirds do not know of this law and many who do simply ignore it (perhaps to their detriment, should it be discovered that they have ignored the law).

    Check the link below regarding ‘Substantial Presence’ and ‘Closer Connection’ implications.,,id=129390,00.html

    • Frank:

      If you have been reading any of these blogs and threads you will seen innumerable references and explanations of the “substantial presence test” and the “closer connection” requirements. In fact, we have one such query discussed today.

      Keep watching. There will be more.


  4. Milan,

    My question I hope is simple. I married a Canadian citizen 2001. I am US citizen (born here in US). For past 11 years my poor husband has been traveling back and forth staying here with me for 3 months then going back Canada for 3 months ect ect. This is really wearing him down,he lives with his mom and him and his brother take turns taking care of her. When she passes he wants to be able to become US citizen. He is not able to work and is on disability from Canada and I am also on disability ( I am 51 he is 41)..we have been looking into him becoming a us citizen and looks like from what we have read that because I am on disability I can not sponcor him and also that we been married for all these years and he had not filed to live here. What is the best way to go about getting him US citizen ship. Thank you.

  5. I concede that by creative book keeping the US requires I return to Canada in 6 months eg Oct 15 – Apr 15 even if I am actually out of the country on some trips shorter than 30 days so that I really was not actually in the US all that time. That would be an immigration issue. What about a taxation issue. ie. If I file a 8840 do I count the days I was REALLY there or do I include the days I was out of the country on the short trips? Mary

  6. We live in BC Canada I want to know my husband and I go to Mexico for 6 months every year I was wondering do they have a extended time for health care to be out of the country?

    • Debbie:

      B.C. allows six months out of the province per year. You can apply for longer stays once every five years, but you must apply first and get permission.


  7. Who determines calendar versus 12 month period for determining the out of country calculation of number of days absent from Canada (specifically Ontario)?

    • Pat:

      OHIP rules that you are allowed a total of up to seven months out of the country in the past 12 months in Ontario.


  8. My accountant mentioned that if you were out of the province for more than six months CRA could determine you are no longer a citizen for tax purposes thereby deeming your Canadian property to be sold (whether it is or isn’t) and you have 90 days to pay any and all taxes due from the deemed sale.
    Anybody know of this?

    • Bruce:

      The last thing I would do is argue with an accountant. I would rather wrestle with an octopus. But I will pass on your question to an international tax expert for his opinion and get back to you.


    • Bruce:

      Here is the response to your question provided by international tax advisor Richard Brunton, of Boca Raton Florida. If you or any others have similar questions concerning cross-border tax issues or need professional advice, you can contact him directly at S. L. Richard Brunton, CPA, at The Brunton-McCarthy CPA Firm, or

      Question: My accountant mentioned that if you were out of the province for more than six months CRA could determine you are no longer a citizen for tax purposes thereby deeming your Canadian property to be sold (whether it is or isn’t) and you have 90 days to pay any and all taxes due from the deemed sale. Anybody know of this?

      Answer: There is an element of truth there, but as usual in tax matters the complete answer is a little more complex. First of all CRA cannot determine an individual has lost citizenship because of the circumstances you describe, but it can determine the individual has become a nonresident of Canada for Canadian income tax purposes. Further, if an individual becomes a nonresident of Canada, generally there is a deemed disposition of his/her assets at fair market value at the time the individual becomes a nonresident, and thus Canadian tax payable on any taxable gain. This is referred to as the “departure tax”. However there are exceptions to the deemed disposition rule. Generally, directly held Canadian real estate, Canadian pension type assets, and Canadian business assets owned directly, are excluded from the deemed disposition.
      For individuals who do have a Canadian tax liability under the deemed disposition rule, the tax is due with the individual’s tax return for the year following the year the individual became a nonresident. Thus the tax would generally be due April 30 of the year after the individual became a nonresident. Nonetheless, there is a provision in the law that permits the individual to negotiate security with the government, such that the departure tax is not payable until the secured asset is sold or the death of the individual.
      Normally Canada would not have reason to declare an individual a nonresident of Canada if he/she was temporarily outside Canada and retained the normal ties to Canada which are used to define Canadian residency for income tax. However the result you describe could arise if an individual became a resident of another country with which Canada had a tax treaty, for example the United States, and under the so-called “residency tie-breaker rules” of the treaty the individual was deemed, for treaty purposes, to be a resident of the United States. In those circumstances, if it proved to be of benefit to CRA, they could consider claiming the treaty provision to declare the individual a nonresident of Canada, thus triggering Canada’s “departure tax”.

      Richard L. Brunton, CPA.

  9. Hi,
    My Grandmother is a canadian citizen and is getting a monthly pension, her husband just passed away few months ago, and now decided to have vacation backhome for 6 months, my question is, what will happen if she over stay backhome –more than 6 months in ( philippines ) she is so depressed and lonely here, also what will happen to her pension? How many months usually they will allow here to stay outside canada.thanks

    • Sarah,

      She can stay out as long as she likes. As a Canadian citizen she retains that citizenship for life. She should also receive any pension that is due her no matter where she is. The only caution I raise is her health insurance–if she stays out of her home province for a certain length of time she may lose her health insurance–it depends which province she lives in. In most provinces she must be present at least six months, in Ontario five and in Newfoundland four.


      • Thanks Milan for the response…well as of her health insurance we will buy her health insurance backhome ( its cheap anyways ) and once she decided to come back here then thats the time for her to go in OHIP ( ontario health office and asked what to do and explain to them why she over stay backhome etc.. ) how about for filing yearly income tax? what should we do then? if she still not here yet? for example next yr filling…. ie..she is leaving by september of this year then income tax filing for next yr 2014 is around march – april…and she still not here yet? also for her pension, so it doesn’t matter if she will over stay in the philippines ? her pension will still continue ( she’s getting it direct deposit anyways)..thanks for your help

        • Make sure you get good health insurance that covers everything. Travel insurance will only cover sudden emergencies and not pre-existing conditions. You will probably need international medical insurance for when she is away and for the time she returns to Ontario because she will have to live in Ontario for three months before she will qualify for OHIP again and you don’t want her uninsured. I will have an international insurance specialist contact with for some options. I can’t answer your tax filing questions: I leave that to tax experts. But she can receive her pension wherever she is is–especially as it is direct desposit.


          • Thank you Milan you are a great help..will make sure she’ll get good insurance. and yes you are right..maybe when she comes back we will make sure we will get her insured here while she is waiting for her OHIP to be active again.

          • Hello Milan…First of all thanks for the great service you provide. I am a Canadian snowbird who spends my entire 6 months in my owned Florida home. I want to extend my stay another 2 months. What does the US Immigtartion accept as a valid excuse? My elderly mother is a resident alien in Tampa and has some health issues I can assist her with. I can also take a night school course if that would be acceptable. If by chance I have my 2 month stay extended (15 June 2013) Does my clock restart for another 6 months starting in Oct?

            Thanks so much


          • Steve:

            Like any bureaucracy, the U.S. border control doesn’t deal in excuses and you have a hard case to prove. Anybody can have a parent or resident to needs a little help. Frankly, I don’t think they’ll buy it. You may have to be satisfied with six months. If you’re staying until April 15–which I surmise from your calculation, You’ll be able to go back October 15 as the border agent will likely look a the past 12 months. In the meantime, get some else to help with your mother for ;those couple of months.

            No matter what story you think up, they will have heard it before.


  10. Thanks Milan…..Keep up the good work.

  11. Hello Milan. My question is a question you have probably answered many many times. I live very close to the BC / Washington border. I make many trips back and forth during the year, normally I cross the border once a week. I also travel to California in the winter for approx 90 days. I have recently been told that the “clock” keeps counting my days in the USA unless I’ve returned to Canada for at least 30 days. How can that be correct? If I cross the border for a couple of hours every week, the “clock “will never stop counting. I can not remember the last time that I was in Canada for 30 days without travelling to the states. I’m sure I’m not alone in this situation as cross border shopping is very big in the Vancouver area. It is so big, that we have a special car lane and Nexus card for us regular visitors to the USA. Thanks for your help.

    • Jeff:

      There is no such 30-fay rule, forget it. A rumour that won’t die. What counts is how many days in total you have been in the U.S, in the calendar year, or some agents call it the previous 12 months. It amountas to the same thing. Just be carefull about the shopping because even a short shopping trip for a few hours into the U.S. counts as a whole day.


  12. Hi Milan:

    I’ve been reading all the great information you’re sharing with people and wondered if you can help me with my question.

    I understand that as a Canadian citizen living in Ontario, I am allowed to stay in the USA for 6 months in any calendar year. Last year (2012) I spent 20 days in the US Aug. 1 – Aug 20 and then spent the balance of my 6 months in Florida between end of October, returning April 8. When does my year start again, to start another 6 months. Would it be from the August 1 date, or from the October date when I went to Florida. I’ve asked so many people and received different answers from everyone. I am not asking this from an OHIP concern I just don’t understand when the Calendar year starts for my 6 month stay.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    • Marlene:

      If you have used up your 182 days, play it safe and stay home in Ontario for five or six months before you return. Some border agents will allow you six months in the calendar year and some in the past 12 and they can do that because the rules as written by legislators are very ambiguous. The bottom line is that the border agent calls the shots and is most concerned about people going across who look as if they don’t intend to go back to Canada or are spending more time in the U.S. than in Canada. Thus I suggest stretching out your time in Canada before heading back to the U.S. and having all your documentation with you to show you are a real resident of Canada and will be heading back after you spend your winter in the U.S. I would not suggest spending 180 days in the U.S., going back to Canada for two months, and then heading back to the U.S. for another 180 days. That gives the border agent a clear reason to ask just where you do live.


  13. I am an Indian citizen and I am in Canada on Work permit. I have lived for a month in canada. My work permit is valid until 2015. My company allows me to work from home. I am planning a trip to india and wanted to know if there are any restrictions on the number of days to stay outside of Canada. If I leave on June 1st can I come back to Canada in December ?

    • If your work permit from Canada allows you to stay until 2015, you should be able to travel in and out until then. But since I don’t know the specific details of your visa I urge you to get a definition from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).


  14. Im 28 year old female living in BC canada and i am on PWD (persons with disibility) and i recieve a check of 906 a month. I have this for life.

    However since i am wanting to move to the US temporarily, for about 6 months. The people who deal with my disability (The Ministry of Social Development) said my benefits would only last 30 days, and if i stayed longer they would cut me off.

    But they said if i stayed less than a year, i could just re-activate it and said it was a simple process. But that would mean i wouldn’t have any money when i go to the US for 6 months, but only for the first 30 days.

    Does anyone know a way around this? Any forms or programs i could apply for? Anything? Also what if i didnt tell them i was leaving? how would they know? and what would the consequences be? Don’t worry im not planning fraud, i just like to know.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Syrina:

      Just make sure you got your information from a reliably high source in the ministry and it was not just an opinion of a clerk. Better yet, send a letter to your minister of health and get the response in writing. Sometimes things get changed when high ups get involved and the possibility of poor publicity enters the picture.


  15. hi milan my mom is a canadian citizen but she has been outside of canada for 15 year in Peru she just went to visist some famly there. can she loose her citizen. at this time she havent pay any taxes..thanks soo much.

    • Rein:

      Did you say she went for a visit for 15 years? If she was a legal Canadian citizen–not just a permanent resident–she won’t lose her citizenship and she can return to Canada any time. It also sounds as if she hasn’t a Canadian passport, has she? They’re only good for five years. About the taxes, I don’t know as I don’t know if she earned any income, had some property etc. She also will have to re apply for provincial health insurance and that will take at least three months before she has it.


  16. I’ve been in Australia for about 1.5 years (originally from Quebec, Canada). My 183 days are almost up so I’m getting insurance with TIC for 4 more months. This covers me ONLY while in Australia. BUT I wanted to visit south east asia for a month or 2 before going back home. Is there ANY way this is possible? I keep getting told that no insurance company will insure me without having a provincial plan from my home country. Is there really no way I can get short term coverage for a quick trip to asia? Please help!

    • Ash:

      What 183 days are you talking about? That is the U.S. rule for visitors to that country, but you have been in Australia. I don’t know how you would be getting travel insurance from Canada since that does require that you be a legal resident of Canada and qualify for a provincial health plan–that’s standard across the spectrum of travel insurers. However you might try to get international insurance the does not require Canadian residency. I will pass this email along to our international insurance specialists and they will contact you and possibly work out a plan for your circumstance.


  17. I have a question. If I stay outside of Quebec for more than 183 days…besides losing my medical care eligibility for 3 months, will it affect any other benefits that I was receiving? Like parental insurance benefits?

    • Mybuu:
      Quebec allows you to be out of the province for 182 days in a year, but also allows additional short trips of up to 21 days. But Quebec also monitors absences closely. If you stay within those limits it should have no effect on benefits.

  18. Hello

    My sister is a landed immigrant and came to BC , Canada in March 2013 . She went back to her country after two months . I want to know that how much time she can stay in her country ( india ) without affecting his landed immigrant status in Canada .

    Please reply


    • Neeru:

      As a permanent resident (landed immigrant) you sister must live in Canada for two years out of five. She should also be able to prove she has lived in Canada for that time.


  19. Hi Milan, You are a wealth of knowledge!!
    I am a US citizen aand My partner is a Canadian citizen.
    We are both retired and he is on a Permanent Disabilty Pensions and Medical from the Military for life.
    I have a home in California and he has a home in BC.

    Am I to understand that within an CALENDAR year (Jan-Dec), I can spend 182 days in Canada(May-Oct) and he can spend 182 days in US(Nov – Apr)? He obtains Travel Insurance and mine covers me in Canada.

    If we were to get married but not change Citizenship would I be eligible for his military pension as I would be his wife but not a Canadian Citizen.

    Thanks so much!

    • K.J.

      You are right on the first question about living part time in the U.S. and in Canada. About the military pension.
      I would surmise that you would be eligible, but for a definitive answer you should check with the Canadian military pension provider.


  20. Hello I am a Canadian citizen by birth and have been studying and living outside of Ontario for over a year now. I am almost 3 months pregnant and due in late January early February.I want to have my baby in Canada, when should I be returning to Canada in order for it to be covered under OHIP?

    • Esther:

      If you asked OHIP for extended leave as a student before you went to school, you would still be covered. I sense, from your question that you did not, which means you lost your permanent residency in Ontario and you would have to reinstate it. You can do that by going back, notifying OHIP that you have returned, and you would then have to live (actually be physically present in the province) for three months to be eligible for OHIP benefits.


  21. I am a US citizen married to a Canadian. We live in Ontario Canada. I have permanent resident status. My mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I would like to go back to the U.S. to take care of her. My commitment would be for up to 2 years. My question is, how would this affect my PR status and my provincial healthcare?

    • Pamela:

      For permanent resident status you have live in Canada at least two years out of the past five. For provincial health benefits–on the schedule you propose, you will lose them. You may have to look at an international
      health insurance plan. I can have an international plan specialist contact you if you like.


  22. I want to move and apply for residency status in Jamaica—Will I loose all medical coverage–and pensions–that I now receive in Canada and also if I rent out my property that is in Canada–to use for an income in Jamaica–is that legal???

    • Colleen:

      If you move permanently to Jamaica you will become ineligible for your provincial government health insurance benefits. As for your pension, if you are entitled and qualify for your Canada pension and/or old age security, you can receive that no matter where your live. As for renting out your house in Canada and living in Jamaica on the rentals, you should check first with an international tax professional because Canada does impose certain reporting requirements on those leaving the country for good.


  23. in 2013 we spent the following times in the USA.
    Jan 2013 – 28 days
    April – June 2013 – 38 days
    June 2013 – 5 days (separate trip)

    We plan to spend from October 16 to December 16 2013 (62 days ) and again Jan – March 15 2014 (74 days)
    Are we Ok to do this?


    • Stan:

      Do your own arithmetic. I hate math. But to answer your question: you are allowed to visit the U.S. up to, but not more than six months a calendar year or out of the past 12 months. That usually comes to 182 days, depending on the months you choose to be away. And you can do that in one long single visit, or the aggregation of several shorter ones–as you have listed. Your numbers look fine to me.


  24. Work Permit,

    I am an Indian citizen and I live in Quebec ,Canada on Work permit.My work permit is valid until 2014. Due to business meeting I have to travel outside Canada many a times .
    I have few questions :-
    1) How many days i can stay outside Canada and What will happen to my Work Permit if I cross the limit if any.
    2) What will happen to my Health Insurance ,Will it be valid if i cross the limit.
    Thanks in Advance


    • Shekar:

      Because there are several types of work permits, each with their own conditions, I don’t have enough information to answer your question. Also, the fact you live in Quebec complicates matters because Quebec
      has rules that differ from the rest of Canada. I can only recommend that you contact the department that issued your work permit for a definitive answer.


  25. I am a Permanent Resident Of Canada. I have to visit my son in U.S.A. like I visited him from September 1 to 9, 2012 ,from December 27,2012 to Jan. 06,2013 and again from July 06,2013 to September 06,2013.I accompanied by my another son who is a Canadian citizen thus visited our son in U.S.A. for a a total period of about two months and 21 days.Will this period of Two months and 21 days be counted towards my stay in Canada to fulfill the requirement of my stay as a permament resident.

    • PS:

      No. The days you spend in the U.S. have nothing to do with your residency requirement for health insurance in Canada. They are two sets of different rules. The U.S. immigration rules say you cannot stay in the U.S. as a visitor for more than 182 days per year. Your provincial rules require you to actually live in your home province for a specific time. For most provinces that is six months (at least 183 days). That’s just a coincidence. But since I don’t know in which province you live, I can’t tell you what that requirement is for you.


  26. Dear Milan Korcok,

    I am permanent Resident Card holder, pensioner aged 75 years. I am now in India for a vacation. How many days can I stay in India without losing my pension at Canada. Is there any time restriction. that will affect my getting pension if I delay my going back to Canada, and how many days it will be.

    Please reply and thanks,

    Md.Zaheer Badsha

    • Janet:

      You are correct in your interpretation of the “US resident for tax purposes” rule. But that does not mean you have to pay taxes to Uncle Sam. If you file the IRS Form 8840, which establishes your closer connection to Canada, you won’t be required to pay taxes to the U.S., unless you earned money in the U.S. (working, doing business, investments, selling property etc). The 8840, which you can get from, simply establishes your Substantial Presence in the U.S. There is no penalty for spending an average of 120 days over the previous three years.

      In fact, you are allowed to spend up to 182 days (six months) in the U.S. in any calendar year or 12- month period: over one long continuous period or a series of shorter visits throughout the year.


  27. ӏ think the admin of this website is гeally աorking hard for his
    website, as here every stuff is quality based material.

  28. we are Canadians ccurrently in Belize holidaying. We got here on Feb. 16, 2014. Are we covered for any medical expenses incurred here? My c/l husband broke his arm and the cost was over 5000.000bzd can we recover any of this?

    • Connie:
      Did you have private travel heath insurance? If so, file a claim with the insurer immediately. If not, you’ll have to try to get reimbursement from your provincial insurance, but you will need to have all receipts, hospital and medical reports. You will have to act quickly because all provinces have rules about how long you are allowed to be out of the province and still retain your eligibility for coverage. I hope you have learned the lesson that travelling out of Canada without private insurance is a high risk and can be extremely expensive.


  29. Hoping you can help us. I am a US citizen now dating a Canadian, Quebec, is there any way for him to spend more than 180 days in US. Is there some kind of sponsorship, etc? What if we decided to marry, would he then be permitted to spend more time in the US? What would be his situation regarding his health insurance? Would he be eligible for Meducare under my Medicare policy?

    Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated.

    • Terry:
      There is no way that your friend/partner would be able to visit you for more than 182 days over any 12-month period on a visitor’s B2 visa, and there is no practical way to sponsor a non-family member. But there is a device called the K-1 visa (otherwise known as the fiancé visa) that is tailor-made for you if you are really, really serious. The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her US citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). That’s the official version, and it’s used a lot–when you have two consenting adults. It also tends to focus the mind on the seriousness of one’s intentions. (You can read more about it on the US State Department website.)

      As for health insurance, that’s a different matter. By becoming a permanent resident of the US, your friend would cease to become a resident of Quebec and would lose his eligibility for RAMQ benefits. He would need to find private health insurance in the US, and that is no easy task. He would not be eligible for your Medicare. He might be able to buy into Medicare but it would be expensive. Until he finds private insurance, getting an international health plan might be an option for him, at least in the short term. If you like, I can pass this message on to our specialists in international plans and they can contact you and tell you what your options are.

      What you are describing is not a unique situation. Good Luck.


  30. Hi.My Name is Ned.I wana Ask 1 Question.I am Disabilty Person in BC.I wana Now How long i be Stay Out Province or Country When Travel in Europe.Time Limit.I hope Soon Answer.Thanks o Much Ned.

    • Ned:

      British Columbia allows you to be out of the province for up to seven months a year in order to qualify for provincial health coverage benefits. That could be in one long stretch, or an aggregation of several shorter trips. Doesn’t matter where you travel.


  31. Hi, I live in Ontario and I’m a Canadian citizen. I know, because I do not lose health benefits card must actually live 152 days a year in my province. My question is: 152 days must be consecutive or collected in a year? And the year is the calendar from 01.01 – 31.12, or 152 days is calculated from the last out of Canada? My case is: I have been out of Canada to Europe in the period 31.10.2013 – 12.01.2013, in April 2014 I was seven days on holiday in the USA and I left and in Europe in the period 07.06.2014 28.09.2014 . How do I calculate the 152 days?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Malina:

      In Ontario it is 153 days in any 12-month period — in one long stretch, or in a total of short absences. But not in a calendar year.


      • You can be more specific, relating one at my situation?
        I started counting the 153 days since my last out of Canada dated 06.07.2014? Exemplify, please!

  32. Hello, my husband is PR card holder and we live in quebec. He was out of quebec each year more than 183 days in past 4 years, now this year his medical card is going to expired. Since he was most of time out of country he never used his card in past 4 years. What will happened with his medical coverage ? He will be able to renew his card ??

    • Zki:
      That’s a judgment call. The PR card is federal. The health insurance is provincial. You have to contact both authorities.


      • Thanks for reply. Yes that I know it’s two different thing. He is good with his PR card, just want to know about his medical card. If he will be able to renew it or no ? Is there any condition that you can lose your medical card ?

        • Zki:

          I assume you are referring to his RAMQ. Yes. He can lose it by being out of the province beyond the limits — in Quebec, the limit is six months.


  33. I stayed in the us from dec 20 to feb 15 is this counted as 57 days or 3 months(90)?

    • Buchanan:

      58 days. Twelve in December (you have to count Dec. 20), 31 in January, and 15 in February.


  34. Hi, I am a dual American/Canadian citizen, though I make my home in Canada (Ontario). I am thinking of spending some time in the US. At first I was thinking of spending no more than 7 months there so as not to lose my OHIP. But now I am wondering if there would be a way for me to stay longer if I so chose… I know you mention that there is international health insurance. Is that very expensive? And could it also cover me for the three months once I get back to Ontario and waiting to be eligible again for OHIP? And can you recommend any insurance companies?

    • Naomi:
      You cannot spend more than 7 months outside of Ontario in any 12-month period and still maintain your OHIP. You might get an extension once every few years if you apply, but you would have to apply ahead of time. There are stop-gap plans that could cover you for three months while you regain your eligibility but this will get cumbersome and expensive if you do it often.

      I will pass this message on to our international plan specialists so they can contact you and discuss possible options with you.


  35. I am wondering where the new regs are posted. My CL Canadian partner and I come to
    California for 6 months each year which I read was the time we could stay. I have duel citizenship and own a home here in California where I have lived from Feb 1965. I have been living back in Canada since 2007.
    When crossing the Boarder last April (2014) the Customs Agent asked if we were aware that Gino can only spend 182 days in the US. When did the law change. I pay taxes here in the US and also in Canada.
    Where do we get this special new form to fill out to stay here more than 4 months? We have coming out to spend 6 months for the past 3 years.

    We cross the Boarder into the US end of October and then again around the 21st of April. Must get back on time to file taxes!!!!!!!!

  36. Hi,
    i was wondering what happens if you lose your health care, does this mean you lose your permanent resident status too? what would happen then ? Could you still leave the country ?

    I am a resident of Quebec and work as a flight attendant for a national airline. I am currently on a leave of absence for a year and a half and wanted to travel the world a few months at a time and go back to Canada periodically for a few weeks here and there. Now that i read this article, it appears i can travel out of Canada over 182 days…. but there are consequences..
    what are all the consequences and how will this effect my job when i return to work in 2016? if i do lose my health care , how will i ever get it back if my livelihood relies on flying between Canadian provinces and also doing international flights.
    If i lose my permanent status what happens then , can i still work in canada?
    pretty much if i break the rules what are the consequences for my specific stituation?

    thank you

    • Emma:
      As a Permanent Resident and not a citizen you must actually live–i.e., be physically present–in Canada for two out of the five years to maintain your PR status. That is 730 days. If you can work your travel plans around that you might make it.

      You mention that you have heard that you are allowed to travel out of Canada for 182 days. Let me clarify: That is the length of time Canadians are allowed to visit the US in any 12-month period. That doesn’t apply to you as you plan on travelling the world–not just the US.

      You may, therefore, be referring to the length of time you must be present in your province in order to remain eligible for government health care benefits. In Quebec that is six months (183 days), but RAMQ allows residents to take short trips of up to 21 days any number of times over and above the six months. They are generous in that respect, but are also quite vigilant about that. But all provinces, including Quebec, allow residents to take occasional extended out-of-country visits (such as a year) once every few years without losing their health benefits. Such an extension might accommodate your plans quite well. But you must apply for such an extension to RAMQ.

      However, you do not want to lose your PR status, because that could jeopardize your residency, your government health benefits, and your ultimate chances of gaining citizenship–if you were anticipating that.


      • Wow thank you so much for your informative reply . I truly appreciate it.

        Just to clarify a few things, i am a Canadian citizen and i reside in Quebec. I was wondering what would be the impact if i did lose my provincial health benefits? Would I still be able to return to my job in 2016? and to gain my heath benefits back i would be required to stay in Quebec for 3 months continuously if i understand correctly?

        i guess I’m confused about permanent status versus citizenship…. does a citizen also have a permanent status and can lose it if they leave the country for longer than 183 days? or will they only lose health benefits if they are out of the country for longer than 183 days?

        If i am a Canadian citizen the only thing i should be concerned about is keeping my health care. But this will not effect my job once i return in 2016 since I’m a canadian citizen – if i understand everything correctly.

        Also the more research i did with RAMQ , there is something i read about every 7 years one may be able to travel outside more than 183 days without losing there health benefits but you have to apply with RAMQ and the Régie will advise you as to whether or not you will remain covered by health insurance. So this seems like it could be good news.

        thanks again


        • Emma:
          You can’t lose your Canadian citizenship by being out of Canada–no matter how long–so long as you are a bona fide citizen. As for your health benefits, these are provincial and not federal issues. In Quebec you must be physically present for six months per year to be considered a resident of that province. If you lose that, you must file for reinstatement and be physically present in Quebec for a continuous three months.

          There is no law that prohibits you from regaining your job in 2016, so long as your employer wants you back and you are legally a resident of Quebec.


  37. Hello Milan,
    How are you? I am a Canadian citizen living in Ontario province. I retired 2 years ago from the federal government and from then on I have been around vacationing in and out of the province and the country without exceeding the 182 days (6months) period. This year, I am planing a 6.5 months stay outside the country. Kindly advise if Ontario province allows me to be out of the country for 212 days (7months) for the medical coverage
    Thank you so much.

    • Joe:
      I love questions I can answer with one word. YES.


      • Wow you are cool Milan. Thank you for your quick response. Can I further elaborate my scenario? My sister is living and working in Australia and my son settled in the Philippines. This year I am planning to stay with my sister for 4 months and 4 months with my son. But in between the periods I will be back home for 4 months. I know I am okay with my government pension but how would this affect my Ontario medical coverage?

        • Joe:

          Technically, over the 12-month period you are planning–four in Australia, four in Ontario, and four in the Philippines–you are one-month short of the five months you must spend in Ontario in order to retain your provincial health benefits. You have some options–the best of which is to prune off a little time in each location–say, three and a half months in Aussie, and the same in the Philippines.

          Or, please, don’t say you got it from me, but you could go ahead with your plans and hope a nosy neighbour or jealous relative doesn’t squeal on you. OHIP does have an investigations unit, but they are normally taken up with serial offenders.


  38. Hi i just want to ask about my son’s situation.. How long he could stay philippines since he is a canadian citizen..
    Thank you

    • Rose:

      Your son, a Canadian citizen, can stay in the Philippines as long as he likes. He won’t lose his Canadian citizenship.
      But he might lose his provincial health insurance if he stays longer than his province allows. I don’t know which province he lives in, so I can’t tell you that. Some provinces require their residents to live there for at least six months, others five months. If he stays out longer than the province allows, he will have to stay in that province for three full months before he becomes eligible for provincial health care again.


  39. I left Canada on October 10, 2014, and am due to return end of March 2015. However, due to an important family wedding at the end of June, I’d like to extend my stay at least until then. If I can, I may want to stay until the Spring of 2016. Is this possible? What do I need to do as to not lose my priviledges for CPP and OHIP?

    • Esther:
      You might get to the end of June, but you would have to file for an extension with USCIS using an I-539 application. Don’t try to stretch it out further. One year is the absolute maximum you might get. Try stretching it and you might not get even that.

      Your CPP won’t be affected. But you might impair your provincial health benefits. I don’t know which province you live in, but you might get an extension if you file with your health ministry first. But figure out a better excuse than that you would like to stay over an extra two months to attend a wedding.


  40. We are retired, married, Canadian citizens. We have two houses, 1 in BC and 1 in Alberta and we split our time between the two provinces as well as travel outside the country.

    In a given year our residency might look like 195 days in one province 110 in the other and 60 days travelling outside of Canada. In another year we might spend 170 days in one province, 130 in the other and 65 days travelling outside of Canada. I.e. in the latter case we are less than 182 days in either province.

    For purposes of tax, “permanent residence” questions, etc. we usually list the province where we now spend the fewer days as our residence as that is where we retired and where our long time home, our bank accounts, our records, etc are located. This is also where we maintain our provincial health care, as it is the province where our doctors etc. are located.

    Do you have any thoughts about our situation? As we are in residence in Canada for substantial part of the year, one would think that residency should not be a problem, yet it appears that both provinces could potentially have problem with us.

    • Farley:
      Since both provinces allow you to be out seven months, technically you would meet that residency requirement for health insurance purposes, but how you would explain being a resident of Alberta and also of BC, on an alternating basis, is a toss up. I agree that both provinces might have a problem with you. I believe that at its base, this situation would be best resolved around taxation and I would recommend you take this to a tax professional. You might also have a problem with foreign travel, as your passports list your domicile, you can only have one Canadian passport.

      But since you are allowed to be out of either province seven months (no longer just six), I would think you might declare one province your home, and the other your vacation residence. That seven and five equation gives you plenty of flexibility to travel back and forth.


  41. Hi Milan, I’m sure you have heard every scenario by know but I still need clarification really bad from an immigration perspective, I work and live in Alberta and have very odd work schedules. I work 6-12 weeks at a time, with equal time off. Until this 2014 I averaged spending approx.3 months a year in Arizona,I have spent more time this year and it is very important that I stay in compliance with the regulations. I would do a calculation of my dates for you , first notable trip this year (2014) was FEBRUARY 26- MARCH 18 / 21 days, Next trip was JUNE 3- AUGUST 18, this puts me at 96 days in the USA, the end of this February on the 28th day I will be at 173 days, I plan to return on March 7 (180)days for a substantial time in Canada ,please let me know if this is ok! Thank you very much , notice my first entry for a significant time was February 26,I have not counted any short trips home with my dates, thank you!!!!

    • Chris:

      Your itinerary is not crystal clear. I think you mean that on March 7, 2015, you will return to Canada. On that date, look back over the previous 12 months and tally up every day you were in the US during that period. You must count every single day, whether a long trip or short. If you’re at or under 182–you’re OK. You say you will then stay in Canada a “substantial time.” I don’t know what that means in numerical terms. Just track back 12 months from your next anticipated re-entry to the US and you’ll know how many days you have (182 days, minus the days you’ve already spent in the US during that period).


  42. Hi Mr. Korcok,

    I overstayed my stay in the us by not being aware that i had to ask permission 45 days before the 6 months were up and the fact that i received approval to leave canada for one year. I just assumed if i could leave for a year than i can stay here for a year. I tried to make things right by seeing a CBP Inspector but there is nothing they can do to extend my stay or assure me i will not have problems coming back. When i return to canada what do i have to do to make sure i will have no problems coming back. Who do i go see to make things right and explain or get a pardon . Will they even address it at the airport when i want to return in 6 months and will they prevent me from leaving canada. Please help .

    • Mary:
      Who gave you “approval” to go to the US for one year? The rest of your question I don’t understand. Please clarify.


      • Milan, i applied to my government to stay out of the country for a year if i desire to and they granted it. I assumed if i am allowed to leave for a year that i am allowed to stay a year here in the U.S. or they would of advised me that it has nothing to do with it. When i found out it was not so i took steps to rectify and explain and make things right. What i need to know is who can i physically talk to , to explain and have them have the authority to say , ok, it was a mistake and you have done all possible to make things right, we will overlook this, just go home and never let it happen again. Thank you.l

        • Mary:
          You must understand that Canadian laws do not trump US laws. If you are a Canadian citizen you do not need authority from the Canadian government to stay out of the country. You could stay out forever and not lose your Canadian citizenship. If you are not a citizen but are a Permanent Resident, you must live in Canada for at least two years out of five.

          But why should you assume that because Canada “allowed” you to be out a year–that means you can stay in the US for a year? You can’t. You are allowed no more than six months (up to 182) days in the US, and only if the border agent allows it. Sometimes they don’t. You can sometimes get an extension to stay in the US for a full year but only with specific authorization from US border control. (That’s the I-539 form.)

          Who do you go to fix your mistake? Call the US customs and try to explain what you have done.


  43. Hello,

    I am planning on going to the US from Canada to visit my fiancé who has been working in Texas for the past couple of years. I have been making regular trips there, and lived there with him for 4 months in 2014. This year, I am planning on using up the rest of my 182 days when I finish school in July. I plan to be in the US for 157 days from July-Dec 31; however, I was hoping that my eligibility would then reset on Dec 31 and I would be able to remain in the US from Jan 1- June 30 without coming back home, thinking that I am allowed 182 days PER CALENDAR YEAR. Is this possible, or is the allotment 182 days PER ANY 12 MONTH PERIOD? I am so confused by reading “per 12 month period”.

    I so greatly appreciate any help you can give me! I am lost!



    • Laura:
      You are not lost. You are at the right place. There is no reset on December 31. You are allowed to be in the US for up to six months, or 182 days, in any 12-month period–be it in one long, continuous stretch or an aggregation of shorter trips. By the schedule you describe you will be in the US almost permanently and that is not allowed. You mention living with your fiancé. He can fix your dilemma quite easily–all he has to do is petition for one of the K visas and you can not only visit him, you could get your own green card which allows you unfettered travel to the S. Of course you would have to get married within 90 days of your arrival, but nothing is perfect. (Find out more about the K1 fiancé visa here.)


  44. In all cases, if you lose your medicare eligibility, you must reinstate it by being physically present in your province for a minimum of three consecutive months. During that time you will be without provincial health insurance.

    Does anyone know if there is insurance a Canadian can buy that will cover you in Canada during the three months waiting period to be reinstated if you lose your provincial health insurance

    • Bill:
      Yes, there is such interim insurance available from some of our advertisers. I will refer this letter over to them and they will explain what you need and how to get it.

      You can also try looking at some “Visitors to Canada plans” (which cover returning Canadians) on Ingle International’s website.


  45. Hi Milan, I have a question regarding Quebec residency. I was living in Quebec in 2013 and had to leave in jan 2014 for personal issue. Was I still resident by June 2014? When did I lose my residency? I have not gone back yet.

    It’s important to know because I was supposed to be resident in June, 2014.


    • One more note, I have green card in US

    • Danna:
      It all depends if you’re a Canadian citizen. There are different rules for citizens and permanent residents.

      • Hi Milan, thanks so much for your response. I am Canadian citizen.

        • Danna:
          As a Canadian citizen you can go back any time you want. You don’t lose your citizenship unless you give it away. The only thing you might lose is your government health insurance–if the RAMQ found out you were away, but they don’t always know. Maybe it’s still in effect. Go see a doctor for something and you’ll find out right away. If you did lose those beneifts, you can go back to Quebec and live there for 3 months to re-qualify.

          You need to be in the province for six months out of any 12-month period in order to retain your health benefits, so theoretically (if RAMQ noticed your absence), you would have lost your benefits 6 months after being out of the province–assuming you hadn’t already spent some time out of the province in the six months before that.


          • Milan,

            Thank you for your explanation. As far as I understand, Quebec residency is being in QC for at least 183 days in a calender year. When I look back 2014, I was not living in QC for enough days to keep my residency. I’m supposed to be a resident to receive my benefit (maternity) in June, 2014. I assumed I was. I didn’t know I would overstay outside QC at that time ( June, 2014). This benefit does not require me to be a resident after June.
            Now the question is: Was I a resident in June, 2014?

            Thanks a lot!

          • Danna:
            Call RAMQ and ask if you are registered as active with them. That’s the only thing that matters.


  46. Hi,

    I am a US citizen waiting for a work permit from common-law sponsoring of my boyfriend. It’s been more than 110 days and i’m wondering if i should be worried? (i believe if they will reject your application they will inform you very soon after the application date)

    After i get my permit i would like to travel with my mum and i would love to know how long can i leave the country, can it be over a year? What is the requirement and rules of holding a work-permit through common-law.

    this is much help!!!

    • Kat:
      You can start out by telling me in which country you live, and who the work permit is for: you or your boyfriend? I need some more details before I can answer.


  47. My Canadian citizen friend who was in the U.S. on a Special Needs Work Visa was in a terrible accident and now is severely disabled and unable to act for herself. Can she return to Canada and get her health care coverage back (she needs nursing home care)? She would be returning to family in Nova Scotia.

    • Lana:
      It depends how long she has been out of Nova Scotia, which requires its residents to actually live in the province for at least five months in any 12-consecutive month period to remain eligible for provincial health benefits. If she is not now eligible, she will have to return and wait three months before she requalifies.

  48. Hello Sir:
    Alberta Health verbally(they do not have offices, only phone assistance) said it was okay for my Mother, a Canadian Citizen, to extend her stay in Italy for a further 10 months, which would equate to a total of 17 months. She has dual citizenship, and due to being born in Italy, she is automatically covered with basic health care in that Country . Alberta Health has since advised us that her Health care coverage has been cancelled as she cannot have health care coverage in two countries. When she returns she will require to re-apply for Health Care, wait 3 months, and cannot leave the Province again for the equivalent of 17 months, or she will lose her health care coverage once again, even if she leaves for a few days short of 17 months in Alberta. She left Alberta in July 2014 and plans to return Nov 2015, as previously told she could stay without losing her Alberta Health coverage, which would be reinstated on the first day back. However, I may advise her to return immediately if the 17 month rule is correct. Any advice? Of not, she was also out of the Country June 12 2013-Dec 12-2013.
    Thank you

    • Donna:
      Your mother’s problem is based on an assumption that I think is wrong: that because she was born in Italy and has dual citizenship, she is automatically covered by that country’s public health system while only a visitor in Italy. Health coverage in Euro countries is based on residency as it is in Canada. If, by staying in Italy she has resumed her residency, which as a dual citizen she can do, she could then be covered by that country’s health care system, but only at the cost of giving up her Alberta residency. The information Alberta gave you is correct. You can’t be a resident of two countries at the same time. She can’t have it both ways. Time to decide.