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Dear Bird Talk,
As members of CSA, we would like to thank
the staff at your office for acting so quickly
to resolve the issue of allowing snowbirds
to deduct their annual premiums for out-of-
province coverage. The success in resolving
that issue is worth every penny that we pay
to be members of the association.
Sharon Unrau
Summerland, BC
Dear Bird Talk,
The same day I read your article about ef-
forts to have the CRA approve travel medical
expenses, I received notice of reassessment
as they had rejected my claim for the
premiums paid. However, your article gave
me strength and I am appealing. Thanks for
your efforts.
John Caird
Oakville, ON
Ed: The full premium you pay for Medipac
travel insurance is tax deductible. Your appeal
will be successful.
Dear Bird Talk,
I have recently become a member. I don’t
know how to get any of the information I
require.
Should I get a U.S. Visa and bank account?
How do I find locations popular for Canadian
snowbirds?
Where do I pose questions such as the
above?
Othello from Ontario
Ed: These are the basic questions that every
new snowbird wants to have answered. As
a Canadian citizen, you are able to visit the
United States for up to six months in any
one 12-month period (this does not mean
calendar year!). As you cross the border, you
are given a “verbal” visa and you do not
have to go through any formal process or
pre-arrangement process to be admitted. You
should always take a passport with you and
some other information that identifies you
as a full-time Canadian resident. A health
card, a property tax bill and a bank statement
have proven very helpful to other snowbirds.
You should open a bank account if you are
planning on staying for 60 days or longer, but
should first decide on a place which you would
like to visit regularly.
To find specific locations where there are lots
of other Canadians, your best bet is to talk
to other snowbirds or perhaps to the CSA
director for your province at one of our many
meetings. U.S. meeting locations and dates
are found elsewhere in this magazine. If you
call the CSA office, we can arrange for a local
director to call you. You also
must
buy proper
travel insurance and the CSA recommends the
Medipac program. Again, contact details are
in this issue.
Dear Bird Talk,
This topic may have been covered before...
sorry. During a recent U.S. border-crossing
interview, we were asked to provide docu-
mentation showing closer ties to Canada.
We didn’t have anything other than our
ID; the guard reluctantly let us cross, but
cautioned us “that the burden of proof is on
the traveller.”Has anyone run across this?
What other documents should we take?
Ian of British Columbia
Ed: You were fortunate. U.S. border guards
have broad and sweeping powers to admit
you, to deny admittance, to tell you exactly
how long you can stay and even to bar you
from the U.S. for a number of years. Respect
for these guards and proper preparation to
cross the border are very important, as guards
require no real reason to take any of the above
actions. There is also no appeal of the decision
they make. Your passport, health card, prop-
erty tax bill and bank statement, as mentioned
previously, will help a lot when you are asked
again. Water bills, credit card statements and
any government document showing your
Canadian name and address could be added
to the list…and they do like photo IDs.
Dear Bird Talk,
When calculating days spent in the U.S. on
the form 8840, if a person returns to Canada
for two weeks at Christmastime and then
returns to the U.S., or if a person is going on
a cruise for two weeks on the Panama Canal
while they are staying in the U.S., are these
days used as part of the total days’ calcula-
tion on the 8840 form? There seems to be
some confusion as to whether or not these
days should be used in the calculation.
Vaughan McClarty
Regina, SK
Ed: CSA has written documentation from the
U.S. government which states that any tem-
porary absences from the United States in the
middle of a snowbird trip cannot be deducted
from the total days spent in the U.S., unless you
were absent for at least 30 days. This means
that your two-week Panama Canal cruise is
counted as time spent in the United States.
This is unfair, of course but, as of today, that
is the government’s position. Two weeks back
home for Christmas falls in the same category.
Instead of trying to change this position, CSA
is working on the snowbird visa which would
allow an eight-month visit and all of these
problems would disappear. The confusion
you refer to is caused by the many people who
have not counted these days and no one has
said anything, yet, so therefore it must be all
right.
And to answer Barbara from Alberta – yes, all
of December counts as time in the U.S.
Dear Bird Talk,
We have been members of the CSA for
a number of years & use Medipac as our
out-of-country medical insurer. My question
is, after reading about Don Kannon’s article
fromWilliamstown, ON, in the latest CSA
magazine, I am a bit confused about how
he was able to return to Texas after being
discharged from the Ottawa Civic for just
two weeks. I was under the impression that
one needed to be stable for 90 days to be
fully insured. Could you give me a bit more
information on this particular issue please?
Another question if you could answer please
is could one have a diagnostic test one week
(which would be negative) & then leave the
country the next & still be fully insured?
Beverly Bishop
Ed: Mr. Kannon took advantage of Medipac’s
Return to Destination Benefit. Following a
medical emergency involving an evacuation,
an insured person can apply to have Medipac
reinstate their policy and we will also pay the
travel costs to return to their original destina-
tion. (This would also include a spouse or a
travelling companion who is also insured with
Medipac.)
When a person applies for this benefit,
Medipac Assist will review their medical
reports to determine whether they would
be considered stable to travel back to their
original destination. Normally, continuing
Bird
talk