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How Long Can Canadian Snowbirds Stay In Non US Countries

It’s not uncommon for snowbirds to plan their winters outside of their traditional American comfort zone – the United States. There is plenty of warm weather, tropical climate, and excitement to be found in other parts of the world. With an increasing demand for adventurous experiences, Canadian snowbirds are looking to non-US countries for a pleasant travel, whether it’s in Africa, Asia, Europe, or South America.

Naturally, if you’re visiting a lesser-explored snowbird destination you should become aware of the country’s requirements beforehand. We’ve created this brief guide to help you better understand what’s expected from you in relation to your stay abroad.




Since the United States shares a border with Canada and is conveniently also a member of NAFTA, restrictions are fairly loose in the states for Canadian snowbirds. However, there are many other countries that have a good relationship with Canada that can make for an exceptional winter getaway. Each country featured below has their own unique requirements that get updated periodically. In order to be completely informed, we highly recommend checking out their individual government websites for more detail.

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Please note that our list applies solely to Canadian citizenship status holders - not Canadian PRs!


Travelling to Mexico

As the newest member of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico is another country that is considered to be widely accessible for Canadian snowbirds. You’ll be able to practically spend the entire winter there worry-free, since you can stay up to 6 months at once as a Canadian citizen (just as long as your passport is active for the full trip duration).

Another advantage that Mexico has over its neighbouring Central American countries is that you don’t need a visa to get in – although you’ll receive a complimentary Mexican FMM (Forma Migratoria Multiple) which is essentially a tourism card that you’ll declare at the border.


Travelling to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is often associated with varying time allowances, since ultimately your maximum trip duration can fall anywhere between one day to three months. As a result, snowbirds are frequently asking how long can you stay in Costa Rica? In this case, it really helps to check out Costa Rica’s own tourism rules posted by their national government, because all trip durations are set on a border officer’s discretion.

Fortunately when inquiring about which countries need visa for Costa Rica, Canada is exempt. You can theoretically visit Costa Rica without a visa assuming that your passport is valid for 30 days after you plan to leave.


Travelling to Cuba

Cuba is another country where Canadians specifically stand to benefit from their immigration policies. Unlike most visitors that travel to Cuba for a maximum of 30 days, Canadians can stay up to 90 days under the same considerations. In addition to this, as long as your passport continues to stay valid you can extend your trip duration by submitting a formal request to the government. If approved, your time allowed in the country gets renewed.

Can a Canadian retire in Cuba? Basically, if you wished to retire in Cuba you could do so on a snowbird visa as long as you kept renewing it periodically. When travelling to Cuba keep in mind that you’ll need to provide proof of Canadian medical coverage, airplane flight receipts, and adequate income.


Travelling to Thailand

While Thailand is viewed as a relatively inexpensive snowbird option (aside from the plane ticket there) it does not provide Canadian tourists with a ton of time allowance. Even though you don’t technically require a tourist visa to see Thailand from Canada, you’re only given one month to stay in the country.

Note that Thailand also has less lenient passport requirements compared to the other countries on this list. In order to fly to Thailand, your passport has to be valid for a minimum of 180 days after the day you plan to leave, and you must receive an official stamp at the border.


Travelling to Australia

Unlike most of the others on this list, the country of Australia requires a visa to be explored if you are a Canadian citizen. While this may be seen as a deterrent to some travellers, Australia’s comfortable winters are still a prime location for Canadian snowbirds. As a Canadian citizen, you can qualify for either a Visitor’s visa or a Travel Authority visa in Australia.

The Visitor visa will grant you permission to stay in Australia for a pre-agreed upon time slot that ranges anywhere from 30 days to a full year. Alternatively, the Travel Authority visa lets you cross the country’s borders several times during the year, except you can stay for no longer than 90 days at one time.


Travelling to Europe

For Canadian snowbirds, it’s worth noting that there are many countries in the European Union that have agreed to be a part of the Schengen Zone. This specific agreement between nations allows for relaxed border crossings for all participating countries, but it also applies to visiting tourists.

In other words, you can enjoy a nice snowbird winter in Spain, Portugal, or France, and then temporarily visit other members of the Schengen Agreement to make the most out of your adventure.

  • Travelling Around The Schengen Zone
    • Assuming you’ll be spending the majority of your European excursion in the Schengen Zone; Canadians can reside for a maximum of 3 months per country for a total of 180 days spent within the European Union.  Keep in mind that if you wish to stay any longer than those 3 months, you’d need to contact the respective nation’s embassy and request an extension. Luckily travelling around the Schengen Zone is pretty straightforward and hassle-free, just as long as your passport stays active for a minimum of 90 days after you plan to leave.




We strongly recommend changing up your snowbird plans every now and again to keep things fresh. By exploring non-US options in the wintertime, you’ll open the doors for an adventure unlike the ones you’re used to. As long as your knowledgeable on individual countries travel requirements, you can enjoy a nice escape from the traditional North American setting.

For more information about travelling as a Canadian permanent resident, check out our guide on how long you can stay in other countries without losing Canadian benefits.

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By Alex | June 23, 2020 | Guides, Travel Tips | 1 comments