U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York) introduced the "Canadian Snowbird Visa Act" into the U.S. House.
Under the bill – which would need to be passed by Congress and signed by the president to be law – Canadians would be allowed to stay an extra two months in the United States if they own or lease a home.
Deutch says the bipartisan measure would be good for business because Canadians visiting Florida add about $4.5 billion annually to the state's economy.
"If our chilly neighbors to the north want to spend more time on our warm Florida beaches, we should welcome them with open arms," Deutch says.
Canada is the top source of international visitors to Florida, but the numbers have been falling, according to Visit Florida, the state's tourism organization. Approximately 3.2 million Canadians visited Florida in 2016, down 15 percent from the previous year.
Existing law limits the amount of time a Canadian visitor may spend in the U.S. to 182 days per year – about six months. Deutch's bill would permit Canadians over the age of 50 who own or rent a U.S. residence to stay in the U.S. for an additional two months each year. They would be prohibited from working for a U.S. employer or collecting public assistance, and they would still be subject to the vetting process required by law.
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