Proposal to US Immigration changes, good news for Canadians

A proposal to US immigration and the JOLT Act in the USA could mean big changes for Canadians over 55 who prefer to trade the Canadian Winter for an American sun spot.

Increase from 180 days to 240 days for Canadian visitors over 55.

Under the proposed JOLT Act, Canadians age 55 or older who maintain a residence in Canada may be permitted to visit the United States for up to 240 days (8 months) in a 365 day period, provided that they own a U.S. residence or have signed a rental agreement for accommodations in the U.S. This is an increase in the previous duration of 180 days (6 months).

Retiree Visa

The JOLT Act also proposes a new Retiree Visa for foreign citizens who make a cash purchase of least $500,000 or more in real property. These individuals will be permitted to reside in the U.S. for up to three years provided that: 1) the property was assessed at $500,000 or more at the time of purchase; 2) the property continues to be assessed at $500,000 or more throughout the duration of the visa; 3) and the retiree resides in a U.S. property valued at $250,000 or more. Furthermore, the retiree must be 55 years or older; have health coverage; and reside for more than 180 days a year.

The Retiree Visa would be valid for up to three years but it may be renewed. The retiree may bring his or her spouse and minor children to the U.S. for the duration of the visa. However, neither the retiree nor his/her dependents would be permitted to engage in any employment in the U.S. other than the principal retiree’s direct management of the real property.

While the immigration bill and the JOLT Act are merely proposals at this point, its passage would have an immediate impact on Canadian snowbirds wishing to stay in U.S. hotspots such as Palm Springs, Arizona or Florida for more than 180 days a year. The Retiree Visa would also have a direct impact on the real estate markets in popular snowbird destinations.


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