How Can Canadians Live In The US?

There are a number of ways Canadian citizens can legally live in the United States, here are the most common.

The Peace Arch

1. Second Home. Canadians can maintain a second residence in the US. In order to be legal, they must a.) keep a primary residence in Canada – must own or lease, it can’t be a place in the kids basement, b.) they must show that they can support themselves. and c.) they must go home.

Many people think they can stay up to 6 months per year. This is a misunderstanding. The 6 month rule is a tax rule, not an immigration rule. You are considered a permanent resident for tax purposes if you live in the US over 6 months and you must file a tax return. There actually isn’t an established limit to the time you can spend at your second home. The border patrol can make a judgment call on this and if it is determined that you are spending too much time at your second home, you can be turned back at the border. You are not allowed to work.

2. Permanent Resident Visa or Green Cards. For immediate relatives, including spouses, children under 21 and unmarried, and parents of US citizens over 21. Visas are also available to siblings of US citizens and spouses of permanent residents but these can take a really long time. For instance, the Philipines has a 30 years waiting list.

A substantial number of permanent resident visas are set aside for aliens based on employment in the US.

3. Investor. These visas are available to citizens of countries that have an agreement with the US which includes Canada. You must make a substantial investment ($100,000 or more) into a viable company and you must own at lease 50%. These visas are complex and is is highly recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney. 

A good place to start to gather information in For a consultation, I recommend Greg Boos who can be reached at 360-671-5945 or