Planning an extended winter vacation this year? If you’re a mature traveller who’d rather chase sunsets than snow storms, it’s important to note that you can only stay in those coveted US vacation spots for a certain number of days.

On February 13, 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Trump reaffirmed the commitment to a coordinated entry-exit information system called the Entry Exit Initiative and pledged to build on the current process. This system records biographical information on travellers crossing US and Canadian borders.

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 aren’t Canadian citizens.

couple enjoys their beach vacation in the US
If you’re headed to the US for an extended vacation, find out how long you can stay without losing your provincial health coverage. Then whether you’re hitting the golf course, relaxing poolside or going to the beach, enjoy that vacation! You’ve earned it.

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.

That means, once you enter the US, your 183-day clock begins.

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 coverage. 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 maintain their provincial health care coverage?

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 risk being ineligible and losing your health card privileges.

Home ProvinceMaximum out-of-province Duration
Northwest Territories6 months
Prince Edward Island6 months
Quebec6 months
Yukon6 months
Alberta7 months
BC7 months
Manitoba7 months
New Brunswick7 months
Nova Scotia7 months
Ontario7 months
Saskatchewan7 months
Newfoundland & Labrador8 months
Nunavut12 months

Losing provincial coverage can be particularly devastating for mature travellers, as it can have serious implications. For one, when you return to Canada, your provincial plan won’t cover any of your medical expenses. This could result in significant medical bills for services you’re used to getting for free, including doctors’ visits, testing, treatments, procedures and hospital stays.

Keep in mind, you can always request extended leave through your provincial health care body, if you need to be out-of-province for longer than the above durations.

Read on for rules Canadian snowbirds need to know.

Couple hiking in the desert
Investing in a comprehensive travel insurance plan means you can relax and enjoy all your destination has to offer. But keep in mind, you’ll need to be eligible for provincial health coverage in order to qualify for travel insurance.

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 to venture farther than the US? We’ve got some ideas for you. Check out Exotic Snowbird Destinations: Warm Winters with a Cultural Twist!

Need travel advice? Leave your question in the comments below!

Safe travels,


How Long Can Canadian Travellers Stay in the US?

Sep 16 2019