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Old 20-10-2011, 14:44   #1
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US Immigration and Customs

Hi,

We are considering doing the great loop, going through Lake Erie, Lake Ontario to Oswego NY to the hudson, florida for the winter months and in the spring, up the gulf to lake michigan, huron and Lake St. Clair which is home.

What I am unsure of is imigrations.

Everyone tells me that as a Canadian, I can be in the states for 6 months less a day within a 12 month period, and then have to leave.

Since this trip is probably closer to a year, how do you do that? Is there a special permission that you need to get or you have to leave your boat half way through for 6 months?

Are there any Canadians here that have done the Great Loop? Was that an issue? How did you handle this ?
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Old 30-10-2011, 07:09   #2
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Re: US Immigration and Customs

I don't have the experience that you are looking for BUT why not get to the southern end and leave to go the Caribbean for a while and then back to finish? Just a thought cause it is the halfish way point right?
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Old 30-10-2011, 07:28   #3
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Re: US Immigration and Customs

Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter the United States directly from Canada, for the purposes of visiting or studying. However, as of 23 January 2007, all Canadians entering the U.S. require passports.
Canadian visitors are generally granted a stay in the U.S. for up to six months at the time of entry. Requests to extend or adjust a stay must be made, prior to expiry, to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (formerly INS).
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Old 30-10-2011, 09:22   #4
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Re: US Immigration and Customs

Quote:
all Canadians entering the U.S. require passports
There are special ID cards available for people entering by road or by boat, so passports are not actually required. However most people would be better off with a passport.
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Old 30-10-2011, 09:39   #5
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Re: US Immigration and Customs

I believe that the 6 month requirement is tied to Canadian medicare and the ability to get health insurance through say Blue Cross. Blue Cross, as an example of a medical health insurer, only sells extended stay health insurance if you are eligible for medicare at the same time. Medicare will not cover you beyond a 6 month stay therefore Blue Cross will not cover you beyond the 6 month period.
Now there may be other issues that relate to the six month period but that one is the one we focused upon.
Some provinces will give you an exemption from the 6 month rule, but you have to apply for it. In the case of NB a person is allowed an exemption so that medicare will apply to you for a period of I think it is 18 months. Check with your provincial medicare agency on this.

Cheers
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Old 30-10-2011, 10:29   #6
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Re: US Immigration and Customs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill10 View Post
I believe that the 6 month requirement is tied to Canadian medicare and the ability to get health insurance through say Blue Cross. Blue Cross, as an example of a medical health insurer, only sells extended stay health insurance if you are eligible for medicare at the same time. Medicare will not cover you beyond a 6 month stay therefore Blue Cross will not cover you beyond the 6 month period.
Now there may be other issues that relate to the six month period but that one is the one we focused upon.
Some provinces will give you an exemption from the 6 month rule, but you have to apply for it. In the case of NB a person is allowed an exemption so that medicare will apply to you for a period of I think it is 18 months. Check with your provincial medicare agency on this.

Cheers
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No the 6 months is a US immigration limit on Canadians in a 12 month period.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:55   #7
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Re: US Immigration and Customs

Thanks a bunch for the info.

There are obviously a variety of opinions on this.

I was in at the Ft. Lauderdale boat show and asked a few people and got answers that also ranged from, after 6 months you leave for a day and come back for another 6 months... another said, just go to the bahamas for 2 weeks and then you can come back for another 6 months, etc...

I will contact an immigration attorney to make sure.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-11-2011, 13:04   #8
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Re: US Immigration and Customs

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I will contact an immigration attorney to make sure.
Don't forget that the way it's officially written is mostly not the way it's done. The comments you received at the boatshow are about right I think.

I once tried to find out more but believe the immigration officers can decide what they think best, incl. less than 6 months or up to a year. I know cruisers (Dutch) that got stamped in for a year no problem.

ciao!
Nick.
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