Over the past few weeks, I have written about various sections of the 2013 immigration reform bill. This proposed legislation, known as S. 744, was passed by the Senate last year. Unfortunately, S. 744 did not see the same success with the House. In order for any bill to become law, it must be passed by both chambers.
Today's piece will focus on sections 4503 and 4504 of the proposed bill. These two sections relate to Canadian tourism and a related retiree visa.
4503. Encouraging Canadian Tourism to the United States. Specifically, this section of the proposed reform bill seeks to amend current law by stating that Canadian retirees are eligible to receive a unique opportunity. Current law allows for these aliens to visit for 182 days at a time. Now, an alien is permitted to visit for pleasure for up to 240 days, if the alien:
- Is a citizen of Canada;
- Is at least 55 years of age;
- Maintains a residence in Canada; and
- Owns a residence in the United States.
To meet full eligibility requirements, the alien must not be deemed inadmissible for other reasons or engage in employment or seek certain types of benefits during his or her visit to the U.S. A spouse of a qualified relative is also eligible to receive the benefit.
One important consideration used in determining eligibility is understanding any associated immigrant intent the alien may have. This means that any maintenance of a residence in the U.S. must not be thought of as evidence of intent by the alien to abandon his or her Canadian residence.
The time periods associated with admission are pretty strict. Here, an alien may be admitted for no more than 240 days during any single 365-day period. Once admission has been granted, periods of time spent outside of the U.S. during the 240-day period will not be counted against the period.
Section 4504. Retiree Visa. This section allows for a new typenew type of nonimmigrant visa. Specifically, the law states that the Y visa will be set aside for an alien who:
- Is 55 years of age or older;
- Uses at least $500,000 in cash to purchase one or more residences in the U.S., which were each sold for more than 100% of the most recent appraised value of such residence, as determined by the property assessor in the city or county in which the residence is located;
- Maintains ownership of residential property in the U.S. worth at least $500,000 during the entire period the alien remains in the U.S. as a nonimmigrant described in this subparagraph; and
- Resides for more than 180 days per year in a residence in the U.S. that is worth at least $250,000.
The legislation also permits the spouse and children of the investor to receive similar nonimmigrant visas.
There are many aspects of the S. 744 bill that would prove to be quite beneficial for immigrants and their families. If you are currently facing charges or have questions related to the immigration reform bill or other immigration matters, contact my office today.
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