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Saturday, November 5, 2011

S.1746 VISIT-USA Act

Two US Senators proposed the "Visa Improvements to Stimulate Tourism to the United States of America" (VISIT USA) Act. The text can be found at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-1746.
The main intent is to encourage increased investment from "non resident aliens".
There are 8 sections to the proposal excluding "section 1" which just introduces the "VISIT USA" short name for the act. At least two sections are aimed at Canadians. Section 5 (Encouraging Canadian Tourism) provides for 3 year visas for Canadians over 50 that allow stays of up to 240 days. And, Section 8 (Increasing Home Ownership by Priority Visitors) provides for 3 year visas that do not have a 240 day limit, but require investment in real estate of at least $500K including a minimum $250K residence.
This is an interesting development, but it remains to be seen how beneficial it will be. Section 8 details in particular requires the individual to pay US Taxes; and requires a minimum $250K residence which is a pretty fancy house in Phoenix right now. Neither visa provides any other benefits such as the ability to work in the US, fast-tracking of a green card, or access to social programs. Then of course, there are the Canadian impacts of being outside the country for more than 180 days. Something to keep an eye on anyway.

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