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semi move to US

semi move to US

Old Oct 5th 2014, 2:20 pm
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Default semi move to US

Hi all. The plan was to retire to Florida for 10months of the year but just discovered we can only do so for 6months as will not be working hence unable to get green card. That is fine but I had a few queries and I wondered if anyone would be able to answer them for me based on your experience.

1. We are looking at buying an investment property in a gated community near Disney and renting it out for half the year and staying there ourselves up to the maximum limit of 180 days per year. We have also considered a decent trailer (trailer trash yay!) and wondered if anyone else has a trailer on a park with a pool etc. If so, how easy is it to rent out and how secure is it compared to a condo?

2. Not sure whether to rent a car for 6months or buy a cheap car. Any advice? Also, I will look at applying for an international drivers license to facilitate insurance etc. Any tips for buying vs. renting and any related auto stuff?

3. Health: both my partner and I are on long term meds, nothing major but we will need to consider this in term of obtaining our prescriptions. I am hoping that our GP will provide 6months worth of prescriptions at a time or we could maybe ask a local pharmacy to collect and send them on (or family/friends of course). Does anyone have any experience of this? What about medical insurance? Would an annual travel policy be better?

4. Phones: is there a better network provider that works well in both UK and US that isn't too expensive? Or does it work out better to have a throwaway in US/PAYG?

5. Flights: Any advice for procuring the cheapest flights to and from Orlando and UK?

6. Finally, has anyone had any trouble with a B1/B2 visa? We certainly don't want to cause ourselves any problems by overstaying and plan to return to the UK way before the total 180 days that a visa would provide but wondered if US immigration had ever turned anyone away purely because they were frequent long term visitors and they were suspicious of someone not leaving when they should. Also, I was told that the 180 days can be split up over a year. Would that be best managed by an ESTA (visa waiver)?


Thanks in advance for any replies I may receive.

Cheers

Karen

Last edited by cocokaren; Oct 5th 2014 at 3:12 pm. Reason: Forgot to include something
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 2:46 pm
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Default Re: semi move to US

Welcome to BE. I have moved your thread over to our US forums.

If you use the forum's search engine you will find many threads about retiring to the U.S...also quite a few re retiring to Florida. These may answer some of your questions.

Last edited by Jerseygirl; Oct 5th 2014 at 3:35 pm. Reason: Typo
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 4:05 pm
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Default Re: semi move to US

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Welcome to BE. I have moved your thread over to our US forums.

If you use the forum's search engine you will find many threads about retiring to the U.S...also quite a few re retiring to Florida. These may answer some of your questions.
I know there have been quite a number but I can't seem to find them now. This one comes closest to some of the issues:

http://britishexpats.com/forum/us-im...lorida-832723/

Does Ray still run his Florida forum?
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 4:50 pm
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Default Re: semi move to US

It is quite uncanny that the OP appears to be aware of essentially all of the issues that might be obstacles to their plan, and asks all of the right questions.

This almost never happens.
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 5:17 pm
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Default Re: semi move to US

Travel insurance intrigues me. Annual travel insurance covers multiple short trips. Not for living abroad. The price is a clue.

I have a friend with a condo. Now they just go for a few weeks now and then. I know the management charges eat into the rent but contributes. People I know in CO go to Florida in the winter. My assumption renting in the winter is easier. Lot of rental competition it seems.
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 10:37 pm
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Default Re: semi move to US

Train wreck waiting to happen.

Travel insurance won't cover long spells like that. And as you won't be residing in the US, you won't be able to get on the exchanges I'd have thought, so that could very well be expensive.

You'll also open yourself up for taxes to the IRS, with world wide income reporting. Which will be a lot of fun.

Visa, if you're retired and have the funds, getting a B1/2 should be doable.

Buying property, outright for cash shouldn't be a problem. Insurance could be expensive, then potential for management company to look after it while you're not there and if it's not rented out, the hassle of running AC/dehumidifiers all the time to stop it rotting and if there's a pool, to maintain that as well. Plenty of threads on this part of the top though, so might have luck searching them out.

Car, well I don't know if you'll be able to get a Florida license, perhaps on the B1/2 but would probably need renewing at the next visit, you'll have to look at the DMV site. Buying a car, well insurance will be expensive and they might not like you using a UK license long term and you've got the hassle of dealing with a car that's benched for 6 months of the year and you'll have to register/title it but at least FL doesn't have a annual inspection, but the double edge sword means you could buy a right POS if second hand. A international license/IDP is a waste of money, it's only a translation and not needed.

Phone, PAYG will probably be the way to go, just top it up every few months or whatever type you go with, there are plenty of recent threads and I think Cricket, is the current best value recommendation.

Flights, use the usual, orbitz, skyscanner, kayak etc.
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 10:51 pm
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Default Re: semi move to US

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Train wreck waiting to happen.

Travel insurance won't cover long spells like that. And as you won't be residing in the US, you won't be able to get on the exchanges I'd have thought, so that could very well be expensive.

You'll also open yourself up for taxes to the IRS, with world wide income reporting. Which will be a lot of fun.
Yeah I see US health insurance as a big problem as it is not available to non-US residents......then there's the IRS who will consider the OP resident for tax purposes when they meet the substantial presence test. That will happen after a year if the OP follows the schedule they describe.

Last edited by nun; Oct 5th 2014 at 11:49 pm.
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 11:09 pm
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Default Re: semi move to US

I wonder how all the Canadian snow birds manage each year, some spend 5-6 months in the US year after year.
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 11:09 pm
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Default Re: semi move to US

Plenty of snow birds limit their trips to just avoid tax issues.

Medical side is more interesting, wonder what all those Canadians do?
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: semi move to US

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
Plenty of snow birds limit their trips to just avoid tax issues.

Medical side is more interesting, wonder what all those Canadians do?
Before the US/Canada border controls were tightened I suppose lots of people stayed for extended periods. That won't be possible now without tax and immigration consequences as passports have to be show.

I assume they buy additional coverage or just get in the RV and drive North.

Last edited by nun; Oct 5th 2014 at 11:48 pm.
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Old Oct 5th 2014, 11:49 pm
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Default Re: semi move to US

Most Canadian provinces require residence of at least six months plus one day in order to qualify for provincial health insurance.

My snowbird neighbours (Ontario) seem to be away from the start of November until the beginning of April. Five months. That will keep them out of the IRS's hands, and maintain their Ontario health insurance.

No idea what they do on the medical side. I suppose they take out Canadian private travel insurance with repatriation coverage.
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 12:01 am
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Default Re: semi move to US

Originally Posted by FlyingDutchman6666 View Post
Most Canadian provinces require residence of at least six months plus one day in order to qualify for provincial health insurance.

My snowbird neighbours (Ontario) seem to be away from the start of November until the beginning of April. Five months. That will keep them out of the IRS's hands, and maintain their Ontario health insurance.

No idea what they do on the medical side. I suppose they take out Canadian private travel insurance with repatriation coverage.
If they stay five months (say 150) days in the US for 2 consecutive years they will meet the substantial presence test and be liable to US taxation.

Substantial Presence Test

The maximum number of days in a year that you can stay in the US year after year and avoid becoming US tax resident is 122.
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 12:04 am
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Default Re: semi move to US

I will probably corrected by those more knowledgeable but, Visa Waiver will allow you 90 days in the US, then you will need to return to UK for a period of time, long enough to appease the immigration authorities i.e no going back to UK for a week and then trying for 90 days in the US again. I found that annual insurance usually only covers for 1 month trips, most companies will offer 90 day cover though, shop around as the premiums vary greatly. Regards prescriptions, i had no problem getting 3 months supply from my GP when i was going back and forth from US/UK. If i spent 90 days in US then i used to stay in UK for about 5 weeks, but i still got grilled by immigration even then.
Good luck.
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 12:11 am
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Default Re: semi move to US

I'm of course not a tax specialist, but I presume that Canadian snowbirds have little trouble qualifying for the "Closer Connection to a Foreign Country" exemption.
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Old Oct 6th 2014, 1:06 am
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Default Re: semi move to US

Snow birds tend to be the wealthier folks in Canada, and there are travel insurance policies geared towards snow birds, but it tends to be pricey but it's available and seems to sell since insurance companies market it actively.

Using 1950 birth year, and no health issues, quote was 897 dollars for 170 days but most seniors have health issues, so easy to say it would be up to a couple thousand.

Cover is for 5 million.

BC allows a resident to stay out of BC for up to 7 months and still maintain residency and health coverage for return to Canada.
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