Canadians ... Residency and Medical

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Canadians often ask: "How long can I stay and what about my medical?"

I urge you to study carefully the advice I've provided below.  Visit our Links page for additional informative links. Never take someone’s advice as fact until you have verified by official written documentation. The plans you make may be adversely affected.

Medical Insurance

Doctors and Hospital ServicesYou probably already know that medical service in the US is very expensive. I can personally attest to this having had 13 stitches in my left hand at a cost of over $1400. If you can help it don’t go to the ER in a hospital, go to an urgent care clinic or doctor’s office, it’s a quarter of the cost. Visits to the doctor average about $100.

I only reviewed and adhered to the specifics of my home provincial medical plan. MSPBC allows you to continue your medical coverage while away from the province on a continual basis for all periods less than 6 months per calendar year (See FAQ). In addition MPSBC does have a two year absence policy once in every five years but, you are required to discuss this on an individual basis with MSP. Remember your provincial plan pays next to nothing when you are in the US and you better have a complementary plan that covers the difference. I use BCAA but many of you have plans that may work from your former or current employer. MAKE SURE it has an adequate “trip length”, written in the policy, many are void after 60 days. I start with a 60 day trip length each year but end up extending to 5 months if I don’t go back to Canada during my stay in Hawaii. I use a one year plan, the cost is dependent on the trip length. If you plan on going back and forth continuously this is the best option.

Your residency in the US

It appears that a Canadian has four routes for entry, visit or residency in the US and each is dependent upon that persons individual criteria:

1. For Canadians to enter the US for pleasure and/or other reasons for a period not to exceed 182 days per calendar year you only need to submit a valid Canadian Passport upon entry. I couldn’t find a trip length limitation on this link so I call the US Border at Sumas and YVR and was told 182 days or less per calendar year. Further, for travel and pleasure purposes a Visa was not only not required but will not be issued.

For more information, visit this link:

2. Canadian Landed Immigrants may require entry under the VWP , valid for 90 days or less.

3. If a Visa is required because you won’t qualify for direct entry.

4. Last, apply for a green card, permanent resident status. You may be eligible through NAFTA   

Here are some additional links you may find useful:


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