|Canadian border guards are silhouetted as they replace each other at an inspection booth at the Douglas border crossing on the Canada-USA border in Surrey, B.C., August 20, 2009|
CBC - A BC. MP is warning people about a new information-sharing agreement between Canada and the United States that could put travellers who spend a lot of time in the U.S. at risk of significant consequences.
The Entry Exit Initiative allows officials to track how many days Canadians have spent in the U.S. Prior to the agreement, the country could only track re-entry dates, not exit dates.
"We were specially wanting to alert people that this could potentially be a problem for them if they were being careless about their travel," said Gail Hunnisett, constituency assistant for Alex Atamanenko, MP for B.C. Southern Interior.
Hunnisett said she's been fielding a lot of calls since her office put out the information.
She said a common misconception is that Canadians can spend up to 182 days, or six months, in the U.S. It's actually 120 days, or four months, and that includes all trips to the U.S. in a single year.
Hunnisett said that to extend their stay to 182 days, Canadians have to fill out a special form.
People who overstay their welcome are at risk of:
- being considered a U.S. resident and having to pay taxes on worldwide income
- losing their Canadian residency and their health care
- being deemed illegally in the U.S. and being banned from the country for three to 10 years.
"Anyone who travels to the U.S. regularly should keep a log and make sure they're accurate if they're asked to substantiate their time across the border," said Hunniset.
She said the rules of length of stay haven't changed; only