U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service Exempts Canadians

Canadian Snowbird Association Receives INS Confirmation Letter It’s official – Canadians Exempt from New Regulation

TORONTO, July 8, 2002 – After months of speculation and confusion resulting from proposed visa regulation changes by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Canadian travellers can start preparing for their winters abroad secure that, due to the ongoing efforts of the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA), their time in the United States is safe.

The CSA appeared as a witness before the U.S. Small Business Committee in Washington, D.C. on June 19. At that time, Rep. Donald Manzullo, chair of the House Small Business Committee made it very clear that the INS had prepared a confusing regulation and was explicit in his charge that this be rectified.

He directed INS Chairman James Ziglar to prepare, with the CSA’s input, a letter to CSA President Ellen White stating that Canadians eligible to cross the border would not be affected by the proposed regulation (which could mean a 30-day limit in the United States).

“We’ve just received the letter and we are very pleased with the wording. We have also been told that a change in the regulation may still happen,” says Ellen White. “In the meantime, travellers can now purchase medical insurance and proceed with their winter plans knowing that they’ll be going for their usual time period.

We want every Canadian eligible to cross the border to know this – if they encounter a problem regarding their length of stay, the Canadian Snowbird Association wants to know about it. Call us – we need their names, the officer’s name, date, time, reason stated and location of border crossing. We’ll take it to the top.

The letter states, in part – ‘Please know that any such rule issued by this Service will not hinder the ability of a Canadian citizen desiring to spend up to six months in this country from being admitted, provided, as is now the case, that the Canadian citizen is otherwise eligible for admission to the United States.’ The full text of the letter will be available for viewing on the Canadian Snowbird Association Web site: www.snowbirds.org.

Appearing before a U.S. Committee is a remarkable feat for any Canadian group. The Canadian Snowbird Association extends its gratitude to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Chairman Donald Manzullo of the House Small Business Committee, Governor Jeb Bush and Dr. Pamella Dana.