Feigenbaum Law

Travel Opportunities for Canadians Looking to Escape Cold Winter Weather

Cross-Border Tax Issues
Immigration
Personal Tax Planning
October 23, 2020

Every year, thousands of Canadians head south to the United States for the winter. For some, it’s a way of enjoying their retirement and avoiding harsh Canadian winters by soaking up the sun in southern states such as Florida or Arizona. Even for those not yet ready for retirement, but who are able to work remotely, working out of a southern destination can be an appealing idea. Of course, COVID-19 has put a wrench in most people’s plans to travel to the United States this winter. But not everybody is staying put.

Some Snowbirds Still Plan to Head South

A recent article from the CBC states that some snowbirds are still planning to head to their southern residences for the winter. The article talks about one woman who lives in a camper in Canada during the summer and at an RV in Florida in the winter. She told the writer of the story that she simply has no choice but to return to her winter home, adding she doesn’t even own winter clothing.

Of course, travelling to the United States is easier said than done these days. Canada and its southern neighbour have agreed to extend the land border restrictions for non-essential travel through November. The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA), which has over 11,000 members, said it expects the closure to last through the rest of this year. While this means that snowbirds will almost certainly not be able to travel south by land, air travel is still open.

Canadian Snowbird Association Warns of Precautions to Take

If someone does plan to travel to the United States by air, the Canadian Snowbird Association recommends a number of items people should consider before travelling. For example, not all travel insurance policies may cover COVID-19-related illnesses, and it can be prohibitively expensive for a Canadian to receive medical treatment in the United States if their insurance doesn’t cover it.

Sunseekers are also reminded to consider the quarantine requirements in the state they intend to travel to. The CSA states that three popular snowbird states – Arizona, California, and Florida – do not require a 14-day-quarantine, even though the Center for Disease Control recommends they do.

Working From “Home”, Abroad

Of course, the United States isn’t the only option available for people refusing to let COVID-19 ground them in Canada for the winter. An article recently published on CNN states that a number of warm-weather countries are offering programs for people who want to work at home, but have that home be temporarily relocated. The article lists details for five countries: Anguilla, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, and Georgia. Bermuda, for example, is offering a one-year residential certificate for $263 USD which will allow people to reside in the country for one year while working remotely. For an additional fee, travellers can also bring dependent family members. People taking advantage of the program are not permitted to work for local companies or individuals, and they must have the means to support themselves and their families while living there.

Meanwhile, in Barbados, many of the same rules apply, though they add that children can also attend school in the country (for a fee) and state that people with a visa that costs $2,000 USD for individuals or $3,000 for families, can come and go during their year of residency on the island.

These various arrangements are tempting for those looking to take advantage of the fact that they are working remotely or looking to continue wintering in sunnier locales. However, each of these options comes with potential immigration and tax consequences that may be onerous and should be considered in advance. Mark Feigenbaum has expertise and experience in navigating this complex area. Contact us about making your transition across the border as smooth as possible. We offer services to clients in the US, Canada and around the world. Contact us at mark@feigenbaumlaw.com, or call us at (905) 695-1269 or toll-free at (877) 275-4792 to learn more about how we can help.


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