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Canadian snowbird RVers won’t be required to cut short their visits to the U.S. because of new homeland security measures, said Chris Bentley, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
Recent news reports about a proposed INS rule that could limit all Canadian visits to 30 days are erroneous, he said. “If there is a Canadian citizen coming south in their RV to the United States, they’ll be able to stay for up to six months, just as they always have,” Bentley said.
The confusion stems from a proposed INS rule announced in April that would give border inspectors the ability to limit Canadian visits to 30 days. Bentley told Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM) that the 30-day limitation applies only to those Canadians who cannot reasonably demonstrate why they need to be in the U.S. for longer than 30 days. It is not a blanket restriction.
WCM and RVBUSINESS.COM are units of the TL Enterprises Inc. subsidiary of Affinity Group Inc., Ventura, Calif.
“If they say, ’I plan to travel around the United States,’ they’ll have absolutely no problem doing that,” he said. “There’s nothing in the proposed rule that’s going to preclude a Canadian for coming into the United States for up to six months.”
Bentley said the proposed rule is needed to give border inspectors the ability to enhance homeland security by matching the purpose of the Canadians’ visits with their length of stay. “Individuals will be granted stays in the United States based on the reason they’re coming to the United States,” he said. “Thirty days is the amount of time the inspector will grant if they can’t determine how much time they need.”
Bentley added that the rule should have no impact on winter visitors to the United States who come in their RVs or who travel south to stay in a winter home.
Don Mockford, executive vice president of the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association in Toronto, said he has no problem with the proposed INS rule. “We’re pleased to see that the U.S. government has taken that step to maintaining the access that Canadians have always had to the (U.S.) market,” he said.