Exceeding 182 days for medical reasons

Spring 2017 CSANews Issue 102  |   Posted date : Mar 15, 2017.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk,

Similar to many other Canadian Snowbirds, my wife and I spend 179-180 days in the U.S. every winter, saving 2 or 3 days in case something unforeseen should happen, so as not to exceed the 182 days allowed by the B2 visa. Since Canadian and U.S. border services now share or will soon share the dates we enter and leave the U.S., I would like to know the required procedures and documents when a person or their spouse cannot leave the U.S. for medical reasons and they are thus forced to exceed the 182 days permitted by the B2 class of visa within a 12-month period.

For example, a friend in our RV Park has just received a triple bypass surgery. His surgeon has ordered him to stay home in Florida for the next 5 weeks to recover. He must then visit his surgeon for a medical examination to determine whether he can travel back home to Quebec. As a consequence, he and his spouse (who’s caring for him) will exceed their 182 days.

As they want to avoid complications for their next visits to the U.S. and also want to keep their provincial health insurance coverage, can you explain what steps they need to take with the following three organizations?
  • Quebec’s provincial health insurance (RAMQ)
  • The U.S. Border Services (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Guy Martin
St-Jean sur Richelieu

Response :
Ed: It is important to remember that each province and territory has different rules related to the temporary absence of residents and health coverage eligibility. In Québec, if you are hospitalized or if you are assisting someone who is hospitalized, you may retain your provincial health coverage beyond six months by sending a medical certificate to the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ).

If your hospitalization will cause you to exceed your authorized period of stay in the United States, you will need to apply for an extension by filing form I-539 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

From a tax perspective, the IRS will exempt certain days for the purposes of the substantial presence test including days you were unable to leave the United States because of a medical condition or medical problem that arose while you were in the United States. If you qualify to exclude days of presence in the United States because of a medical condition or medical problem, you must file IRS Form 8843, Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition. IRS Form 8843 contains a section which is to be completed by a physician or other medical official stating that you were unable to leave the United States due to a medical condition or medical problem. If you still meet the substantial presence test, you will also need to file IRS Form 8840, Closer Connection Exception Statement for Aliens

Additional information on these requirements can be found on www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca, www.uscis.gov and www.irs.gov.

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