On extended vacation until late 2013. After 25 years in international services, I am temporarily serving as a family caregiver. In search of new employment in which I can telecommute. Current news and commentary is still available at the bottom of the blog.
June 27, the US Senate passed a broad immigration reform bill. The bill
included both the retiree visa (Section 4504) and the Canadian 240 day extended stay option (Section 4503).
Now the House of Representatives must propose and approve its own immigration
bill (or package of immigration bills), before a House-Senate conference
committee tries to synthesize the House and Senate versions.
The daunting task in the House, deeply divided over immigration, is to get a broad immigration reform package approved. Getting such a package
approved would be nice but is not necessary. If even a pared-down version of
immigration reform gets approved by the House, good things may (will likely)
happen behind closed doors in the House-Senate conference committee. Conference
committees can check extreme politics with their hats and coats and focus on
crafting a bill that a majority of both houses can live with.
this point it does not seem that the retiree visa or 240 extended stay
proposals are going to be negotiated away. They are not dear to either side of
the immigration issue so they have little or no value at the table, but they
are also a win-win (what’s not to like?). Despite the political bluster, it
seems to me that the special path to citizenship for undocumented people will
be sacrificed to save the rest of the bill. Check out the Washington Post
WonkBlog for three different ways an immigration bill might pass the House: http://goo.gl/CBajj.
Equipment now being installed at US ports-of-entry will enable US authorities to keep track of the comings and goings of all nonimmigrants, including visitors. Equipment may not be operational at all ports-of-entry until late 2014.
With the new technology comes a new policy regarding the admission of Canadians as visitors.
Six Months Minus A Day
entering as visitors sans visa will be issued an I-94
admission card (see example above) like the ones issued to other nonimmigrants. For most snowbirds, the period
of admission indicated on the I-94 will be six months minus a day. Frequent visitors may be granted shorter periods of stay.
The infamous “unlawful presence” rules that apply to most other nonimmigrants are now being applied (inconsistently, so far) to Canadian visitors. Canadians who remain in the US six months beyond the period allowed on the I-94 card will be able to reenter the US after thirty-six months abroad. Canadians who remain in the US for twelve months or more beyond the I-94 admission period will be able to reenter the US after one hundred and twenty months abroad.
you know about the new US insurance exchanges that open October 1 with coverage to
begin January 1 for US residents? Sure you do.
you know that the exchanges will be closed to persons 65 and over? ‘Probably know
you know that US Medicare will be unavailable to new green card holders 65 and over with
less than five years of US residence? Sure you do.
you know that green card holders 65+ with less than five years of US residence
can obtain health insurance through immigrant insurance
policies specially designed for them? You probably already know that too. And I bet you also know that insurance premiums are a little higher
than otherwise and the there are restrictions associated with preexisting
conditions, as well as policy limits and limits on specific ailments? The coverage may be good but less than ideal. You probably know that too.
Some things in life I just don't understand. Like hot water heaters, pairs of scissors, chicken fingers, pizza in a square box--and Canadian accountants dispensing US tax advice. I shudder to think of how many times Canadians have told me and my +KeatsConnelly colleagues that their accountants advised them, as green card holders, to file nonresident US tax returns because they are still filing Canadian resident (T1) tax returns in Canada.
NOTE: Uncle Sam does not care how green card holders file tax returns in Canada. US immigration and US tax rules require green card holders to file IRS Form 1040 resident tax returns annually. 2 + 2 = 4. Black and white. Period. No analysis required. What gets reported, what gets claimed (and how much tax to pay and to whom) is a different set of issues.
It is possible that green card holders could file nonresident returns for years and escape CIS or IRS scrutiny. However, such a green card holder is immediately under the US government microscope when he/she files a US naturalization application. Naturalization applicants must show that they have followed the rules generally. Filing nonresident tax returns is not following the rules. In fact, it may be a route to denial of the naturalization application and loss of the green card.
a reminder that every male green card holder between the ages of 18 and 26 must
register for US Selective Service. Failure to register may prevent one from qualifying for a variety of
government related benefits, including naturalization--and upset Mom and Dad's immigration planning.
Naturalization applicants, 18-25. USCIS will
confirm that a male naturalization applicant in the 18-25 age group has indeed
registered for Selective Service. One who has failed to register
will have action on the naturalization application suspended so that he may register. A male applicant who then
refuses to register may (probably will) have his naturalization application
Naturalization applicants, 26-30. At age 26, a male green card holder can no longer register for Selective Service. Such an individual must file with his naturalization
application a statement explaining how the failure to register neither knowing nor willful (Good luck with that. Males in that age group are advised of the
registration requirement when they receive their green cards). Even with a statement, an applicant may have difficulty meeting certain naturalization requirements
related to demonstrating loyalty to the United States. Naturalization for such
applicants is not a slam dunk.
Naturalization applicants, 31+. Male applicants in this age group must still file a statement explaining why they failed to
register; however, absent additional unfavorable information in the hands of
CIS, such applicants will be forgiven their failure to register.
This issue is likely to create trouble for
Mom and Dad expect Junior, a green card holder, to get
naturalized and then sponsor Mom and Dad for green cards. If Junior is between
26 and 30 and failed to register for Selective Service, Mom and Dad should
explore other options to get green cards or delay their exit plans until after
Junior turns 31 when he can apply for naturalization without risk.