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morning, I dropped off a buddy at the airport to fly to the states. When

he got to Newark customs, they refused to let him into the states. The

reason was that he had an impaired charge 32 years ago. Ten years ago,

he got an official pardon from the Canadian government. Guess what?

No good. They require you to have a U.S. waiver in order to get into the

states. It all changed as of January 1, he was told. So any little charge

and you will be turned back. I suggest that anybody who has a vacation

booked to the states who had a little incident with the law years ago call

and get the waiver papers fixed up, or you’re going to be disappointed at

customs. You would think that the travel agents would inform people

of the changes. A pardon is no good. You need a waiver from the U.S.

Consulate. And that’s in Halifax. You can get the papers, but it takes

up to four or five weeks. You could go last year with no problem. But

the guy told my friend that the law has changed. If you know anybody

going south, let them know.

Elizabeth Ferrie, Newfoundland


More good advice! Hopefully, everyone knows that if you have a criminal

record, you will not be allowed to enter the U.S. This is a big educational point for

your children and grandchildren, to keep them on that straight and narrow path.

Dear Bird Talk,

Please advise. If I wish to stay in the U.S. for 150 days every year, am I

allowed to do that? And if I file form 8840 every year accordingly, do I

still have to pay U.S. income tax on worldwide income? (This is assuming

that I earn no income whatsoever in the U.S.)

Lan Huong Nguyen, B.C.


You are allowed to visit the United States for up to six months in any 12-month

period. That does not mean a calendar year…it is ANY 12-month period. So the

answer to the first question is “yes.” If you file the 8840 every year, you will not

have to pay U.S. taxes as you have declared yourself as a Canadian resident or

stated your “closer connection” to Canada on the 8840. You do NOT have to pay

tax in the U.S. at all.

Dear Bird Talk,

I just read a blog that indicated that CSA says that we can stay for 183

days + 30 days if we own property and are over 55. Is this correct?

Terry Olson, Kamloops, BC


This is very wrong! There is a lot of misinformation in the blogosphere.You are

allowed to stay for six months in any 12-month period if the border guard agrees

to this at your crossing point. They normally do! Owning property and being over

55 would be possible terms for the new Snowbird Visa we are working on, but

the term would probably be eight months in any 12-month period.

Dear Bird Talk,

Anyone who decides, like I did this year, to have their Medipac travel

insurance take effect after their 40-day federal coverage expires, be

warned. Should any illness occur during the 40-day federal coverage,

you will not be covered if your medical expenses extend into Medipac

coverage area. They opt out, using the 90-day exclusion for any illness

prior to their insurance taking effect. I assumed that the 90 days applied

to a condition which occurred prior to your trip. What is one expected to

do if they are in the U.S. and are told that they are no longer covered. I was

never warned of this possibility. Even though I was a Medipac customer

for 10+ years without a claim, they dropped me like a lead balloon.

Tyrone Henley, Kentville, NS


Come on, Tyrone, we did not drop you like a lead balloon; you just finally read

your policy. We have no idea where you were or whether you had insurance or

knew anything else about you until our policy started.We have a generous 90-day




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pre-existing condition clause and it starts when our policy starts or when you

cross your provincial border, whichever is later. Anyone who has a claim during

their federal coverage period will have that claim paid by the federal plan, even if

expenses and/or hospitalization continue into the Medipac top-up period.When you

have that claim, you must call Medipac to make sure that your top-up coverage

still works for you, and we can usually make that happen. It may be referred to

our underwriting department for approval, so save your medical records.

Dear Bird Talk,

In your last newsletter, there was an ad for the Canadian company

called “Roam.” Does CSA endorse this cell phone company? Has CSA

in the past investigated and recommended smart phone plans to their

members who use text, talk and data in the U.S. If not, why not?Thanks

in advance for your reply.

Paul Wilke, Regina, SK


At CSANews, we try to monitor our advertisers and we also try to do the

same for our Extravaganzas. These advertisers are NOT endorsed by the CSA

unless it says so in the ad. We have ejected three or four groups from our shows

for misrepresenting themselves at the time of booking and, in fact, are fighting

one of them in court right now. We expect to win, but who knows? Roam bought

an ad, that is all, and we have had no complaints about their service.

Dear Bird Talk,

I am spending five months in Florida each year and wish to take a

two-week vacation in Mexico. Is this deducted frommy 182-day limit?

Anthony Simpson, Tiny, ON


No! Only days in the United States will count, unless you leave from the U.S.

in the middle of your five-month trip.