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  1. Default Six months in Canada and six months in the US road trip from Europe

    Hi guys,

    I need some advice here please.

    My wife and I are Belgians, 52 and 55 years old, we would like to make a road trip across US and Canada.

    Now this is our plan:

    We would like to rent out our apartment, full furnished for a period of 30 months, that's 2.5 years.
    We both already have B2 (6-month) visas for the United States and we plan to buy a used RV from Cruise America in Kissimmee for about $30k,
    a Florida registration/insurance address is also possible to obtain, not an issue.
    The idea is, travel the US during 6 months and then go to Canada in the summer for 6 six months (no aditional visas needed for us)
    and, for the winter we go back to the lower 48 for another 6 months, and we do this all over again until we can go back to our apartment again after 2.5 years.
    The main reason to do that is, if we have to return to Belgium after 6 months we cannot use our apartment and putting the RV into a storage for 6 months
    could generate more costs/inconvenience.

    What do you guys think?

    Thanks in advance,

    Roger & Marianne.

  2. Default

    Just where in the US are you expecting to spend the 6 winter months and what kind of weather are you expecting?

    As a winter Florida resident, I can verify that temperatures can dip into the 40s and even 30s in January and February. But it canít imagine spending those months comfortably in any other state.

    As a part time Michigan resident I can tell you that the 12 week period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is our tourist season. That is true for much of the country and youíll miss it because youíll be in Canada.

    Some people love winter vacations in the US, especially if they love skiing and winter sports. Maybe thatís you. But a Cruise America RV is not well suited for winter camping, IF you can even find campgrounds open other than in Florida or some other southern states. Iíve rented them and their dinky little heater never seemed a match for a cold night.

    So, where are you expecting to spend each of the 12 months and what are you expecting to do?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,485

    Default tread lightly

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I don't think your plan will work.

    I believe under the terms of your visa, you don't just have to leave the US to reset your clock, you have to completely leave North America. I am certain if you were traveling under the Visa Waiver Program, where you're allowed up to 3 months, that is the case. Going to Canada, Mexico, or a Caribbean island is not enough to get a new 90 days. This article from US Customs and Immigration indicates the same rules would apply to multiple entries on a B-2 visa.

    You need to look into that further, and also be aware that even if going to Canada would be enough to reset the visa, you're still at the mercy of border agents each time you do cross. They are not required to give you a full 6 months for every visit - or even required to admit you at all. If they suspect you are improperly using a tourist visa to effectively immigrate to the US, they can simply deny you entry back into the country. I could very easily see that becoming an issue on your second or third attempt to enter Canada or the US, especially if you haven't returned to your home country in more than a year.

    At the very least, this is a question of immigration law, and I would strongly suggest you look into this far more deeply than an internet message board, to make sure you don't get stuck in a real bad spot.

  4. Default

    Ok, I think you're right. I've been reading a little more about it and, going to Canada or Mexico will not reset the visa stay.

    What I could do is: Once in the US, I could apply to extend my stay with a I-539 form to up to 1 year based on what I heard. I do think that, buying an RV will cost me a lot of energy and paper work + camping gear, for just 1 year on the road is not good/long enough for us. After that I would have to sell everything on Craigslist.... If it was possible to stay at least 2 years, ok, but for a year, not sure I would do that. Moreover, I don't think I would be able for find a tenant to rent our apartment for only year. It's too short.

    Thank you very much for your reply.

    Take care,

    Roger.

  5. Default

    Hi Michael,

    An immigration lawyer? Uhmm.. Do you think a lawyer would be able to extend my stay in the US for this roadtrip? A 2-year roadtrip would be enough for us.

    Thanks again,

    Cheers,
    Roger.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,485

    Default

    If you're thinking is 2+ years or bust, then I guess it probably won't work.

    Of course, having 1 full year to travel across the US in an RV would be an absolute dream for many people....

    edit: My thoughts about a lawyer were in regards to the legalities of going to Canada to reset your multiple-entry visa. I'm not aware of any circumstances where you can get a tourist visa extended beyond 1 year - although, an expert in immigration law, like a lawyer, might know of other options.

  7. Default

    Michael,

    Thanks again for the prompt reply, I appreciate it.

    OK. I guess I will have to develop this idea a little more.

    Kind regards and Cheers from Belgium.

    Roger.

  8. Default

    Hi Travelingman, :-),

    Thank you for the message, well, I follow lots of RVers on youtube since 2013, I saw lots of different situations and I guess we could handle those.
    But the main issue for us is having to put the RV into a storage for 6 months, once in Belgium I wouldn't be able to stay in our apartment during this period, so I would have to buy a van and visit Western Europe and then, after 6 months we go back to the US and resume our roadtrip. I think this is feasible for us. We want to see all Lower 48 and Alsaka.
    Maybe I can contact a farmer in the US and ask if he wants to store our RV in his barn for, let's say $250-300(?) for 6 months. Because I think storing an RV into a real storage facility will cost us a lot more.

    What do you think?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,951

    Default

    The price of RV storage in the US depends a lot on where you're storing it, the length of the rig, and whether it is "under cover" or out in the open. Out in the open is often cheaper, but it's hard on the rig because of the open exposure. (We stored ours in Southern California, out in the open, on private property. When we went to pull it out for the final time, the tires had ALL rotted out and there was a separation of the skin from the frame. No towing it until both of those were rectified! We also discovered that most of the running lights were kaput, because there was a part that had failed with the age and the heat.) Our storage was for a 27', it was $80/month at the time, but it was going up to $100 and we weren't using the rig enough to warrant $1200 in storage fees a year. That was in a private facility way out of town; in town, it would have cost us $150, IF there was an opening.

    We have an Australian member who keeps a rig here in storage. I don't know what she pays, but I do know that she's had to replace some things when she returned to the US. She also has a bit of experience with trying to register and insure when you're not a citizen. It's not as easy as you think it might be!


    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,100

    Default Yup... not easy, and costly, but still worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    We have an Australian member who keeps a rig here in storage. I don't know what she pays, but I do know that she's had to replace some things when she returned to the US. She also has a bit of experience with trying to register and insure when you're not a citizen. It's not as easy as you think it might be!


    Donna
    My wheels are not on an RV. Mine is an old Ford conversion van. I store mine in NC, for $22 a month, out in the open. I travel for between 3 and 6 months every two years, so it is in storage for 18 months or more. On my return I have it looked over by a trusted mechanic, and pay for whatever needs to be repaired before I hit the road.

    There are attorneys around the country who facilitate the registering of vehicles for non-residents. These are also often linked to insurance companies which will insure RVs (but not automobiles) for non-residents. However there are several States which will not allow you to register the vehicle through them. CA is one of those States. I am not sure of which others.

    Michael linked to another article, which in one place is misleading in its omission of information.

    ... if you come to the U.S. on the July 10th on a B2 Visitor Visa, you may go to Canada and/or Mexico (provided you have the proper documentation to enter those countries) on or after December 10th, and reenter the U.S. any time up until January 10. But because the six month period is up on January 10, you will also have to depart from the U.S. on that same day to avoid being an "overstay"
    This part of the article should also mention that you MUST leave North America, not just the U.S. Going to Cuba or the Bahamas just does not do it. You must go to another Continent, before returning to the U.S. Neither can you spend another six months in Canada.

    Furthermore, if you want to spend a year in Canada and the U.S., the ONLY way you can do this is spend 6 months in Canada (not including Alaska) first. Then enter the U.S. for your six months there, heading back into Canada a day or two before your six months are up. Your 2nd time in Canada will be counted as time in the US. Fly direct to Canada, and do not enter the U.S. until 6 months before you are ready to go home. You could find that purchasing an RV in Canada may be easier than in the U.S., and their registration will be valid in the U.S. Just make sure it is covered by insurance for the U.S. You could then enquire about storage in Canada as well, and fly home out of Canada.

    Many have wanted to do what you plan to do, but it is the countries which you enter which have the final say, as to how long you may stay. In the same way as I cannot spend more time in Europe than the thirteen weeks my EU visa allows.

    Lifey

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