If you’re a Canadian snowbird who would much rather chase sunsets over snow storms, it’s important to note that you can only stay in those coveted US vacation spots for so long. The Entry Exit Initiative is a system that records biographical information on those crossing US and Canadian borders. On February 13, 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Trump reaffirmed the commitment to a coordinated entry-exit information system and pledged to build upon the current process. Currently, Canada and the US exchange entry information on third-country nationals (non-US or Canadian citizens), permanent residents of Canada who are not US citizens, and permanent residents of the US who are not Canadian citizens.
How long can a Canadian stay in the US?
The US only allows Canadians to stay for up to six months (or 182 days) per calendar year. To put things into perspective, once you leave your province, your 183-day clock begins, whether you start your journey in Canada first, or the US directly. However, it’s not just US law you need to consider; you also need to be in your home province for a certain number of days every year to remain eligible for provincial health. If you’re not eligible for provincial health, you won’t be able to buy travel insurance for your stay in the US.
How long can a Canadian stay out-of-province and remain eligible for provincial health?
Most Canadian snowbirds aren’t aware that they can lose their provincial health care insurance coverage if they spend too long outside of Canada.
Every province and territory has residency rules that must be followed in order to remain eligible for government health insurance coverage. If you stay out of the country for too long, you can run the risk of being ineligible and losing your health card privileges.
Home Province Maximum out-of-province Duration
BC 7 months
Alberta 7 months
Ontario 7 months
Saskatchewan 7 months
Northwest Territories 6 months
Yukon 6 months
Quebec 6 months
Prince Edward Island 6 months
Nova Scotia 7 months
Newfoundland & Labrador 8 months
New Brunswick 7 months
Nunavut Permanent resident
Manitoba 7 months
You’ll also lose your coverage for any travel medical insurance policy you purchased to cover medical expenses incurred outside Canada. Your policy will no longer cover your claims unless your provincial health care insurance is valid.
Keep in mind that you can always request extended leave if you need to be out-of-province for longer than the above durations through your provincial health care body. Read on for rules Canadian snowbirds need to know.
Snowbird Travel Insurance
As mentioned above, you need to be insured under, or be eligible for, your provincial health plan in order to buy TuGo® Travel Insurance. That means you don’t necessarily need to be insured under your provincial health plan; you can purchase our travel insurance as long as you’re eligible for it. We can’t speak for other insurance companies, so be sure to check their requirements for snowbird travel insurance. Read on for more details on snowbird travel insurance.
Here’s traveller Laura Schurer’s review of TuGo Travel Insurance.
Looking for more travel advice? Leave your question in the comments below!