Among the many provisions of the 800-page bill, the Senate's immigration reform proposal would help the many vacation home owners and renters hailing from Canada and other countries. The bill creates a new Retiree visa category for individuals over age 55 who buy real estate in the United States worth at least $500,000 and reside in the United States for at least 180 days per year in a home worth at least $250,000. It's a temporary visa category renewable every 3 years.
The Senate's immigration reform bill also allows for "Canadian retirees" (defined as individuals over age 55) to be admitted as visitors for up to 240 days per stay, rather than the current 180-day limit per stay, as long as they continue to maintain a residence in Canada. It specifies that maintaining a residence in the United States won't be considered evidence of intent to abandon the residence in Canada. The current rules with respect to the 180-day limit on visits and "immigrant intent" are frustrating to people who want to split time between their residences in Canada and the United States, whether in Vermont, Florida or the many other popular U.S. vacation and retirement destinations. But it's important to note that the immigration reform bill doesn't include changes to U.S. tax rules requiring individuals who remain in the United States for more than 183 days (as determined by a formula) to pay taxes as U.S. residents.
Of course any of this could be amended, and it remains to be seen if immigration reform will pass at all or if it will resemble the Senate bill. Numerous immigration reform bills are expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives.