Downsides of GC as Canadian

Microsoft 470n3
Mar 4 29 Comments

It’s been pretty straightforward to work in the Bay Area using the TN visa/status. I file my US taxes then claim them against foreign income back in Canada and things work pretty well. I can come/go as I please and have never had problems at the border.

I have the option to get my GC, but should I? Are there downsides to having a GC I don’t know about? If I’m ever rich enough to afford a house and settle down in the Bay Area, I’ll probably be able to get the investor visa haha.

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 29 Comments
  • Broadcom Ltd. / Eng
    headbanger

    Broadcom Ltd. Eng

    PRE
    Intel, Broadcom Ltd.
    headbangermore
    Here’s my real life story. I have been in the US for over 14 years since 2004. The first 10 years I didn’t care about GC at all. Life and career was smooth on TN. When I joined Broadcom in 2014, they started the PERM. It got approved right around Avago acquisition. They wanted to start the next GC steps where my signatures were required. Because of the upcoming merger and layoffs, I was very hesitant to sign I-485. I-485 is definitely immigrant intent and stays in your records. Had I been laid off during the first 6 months of it, I would’ve lost my TN and wouldn’t have been able to get a new one due the black spot of 485 in my history. And to top it up, I wouldn’t have got the GC either. Screwed in other words! HR kind of threatened me and had my manager tell me I was interfering with my employability at BRCM in case TN weren’t extended. Total BS! I had been getting renewals for years. Heck, NAFTA even survived Trump! So I took the risk and signed the papers and got lucky I didn’t get laid off the first 6 months of 485.
    Now fast forward to post GC life. My dad got very sick and I had to go back to Canada for a couple of months. On the way back, ahole CBP officer asked: why do you live in Canada? To which I replied: what makes you think I live in Canada because I just gave you my GC? My dad was in ICU and had to come back blah blah blah... he got tired of my long story and let me go peacefully :)
    So even for 2 month stays outside the US, they’re asking extra questions. Others already warned you about the residency requirements of GC.
    Everyday I regret signing the GC papers because of my old parents in Canada. In my TN era all I needed to do was go back for a few years and then come back on a new TN. I lost that freedom unless I throw away my GC. And this will be the case until I become a US citizen. If something happens to my parents, all I can do is apply for a 2 year re-entry permit to save my GC. And that resets the citizenship clock. Plus you can’t be outside for more than 2 years. One lawyer told me it was possible to extend the re-entry permit for another 2 years. But what if I needed to take care of my old parents for more than that?!
    Lesson learned: be careful what you sign and what you’re getting yourself into. The problems don’t end with US citizenship either. Every US citizen must file US taxes regardless where they live in the world. And apply tax treaties to save on US taxes. I had a boss back in Canada who was born in the US to Canadian parents. He was always complaining about filing 1040.
    As for me, I came up with a compromise. I moved to Boston area so I can be close to my parents. I took a pay cut too because I had to leave BRCM as they didn’t have any positions east coast at the time.
    Mar 10 7
    • Broadcom Ltd. / Eng
      headbanger

      Broadcom Ltd. Eng

      PRE
      Intel, Broadcom Ltd.
      headbangermore
      Actually you missed my point. The true peace of mind comes with TN. You work in the US for as many years as you want to and can go back and forth while filing taxes in only one country. Dual citizenship can be a pain in the neck when it comes to taxes. If the tax treaty is changed by someone like Trump, you may not be able to waive US taxes. Keep in mind regardless of the tax treaty, you have to file 1040 every year as a US citizen.
      Mar 10
    • eBay 420>520
      I think there's a risk attached to reapplying for TN though. Your non-immigrant intent gets harder to prove the longer you stay in the US
      Mar 10
    • Broadcom Ltd. / Eng
      headbanger

      Broadcom Ltd. Eng

      PRE
      Intel, Broadcom Ltd.
      headbangermore
      I never had that issue during the 12 years pre GC. I have yet to meet a Canuck who couldn’t renew TN due to being in the states for too long.
      Mar 10
    • eBay 420>520
      I'm looking at gov website and the denial rate for TN1 can be as high as ~30% not sure about those cases but also haven't heard of anyone
      Mar 10
    • Broadcom Ltd. / Eng
      headbanger

      Broadcom Ltd. Eng

      PRE
      Intel, Broadcom Ltd.
      headbangermore
      Most TN denials are due to the degree not matching the job. TN is much stricter than H1B. They recently started getting tough on H1Bs. You can’t be a mechanical engineer and wanting to take a software engineer job.
      Mar 10
  • LinkedIn stuffy🐷
    Hmm, why do you even need to file Canadian tax? I declared myself non-resident of Canada the 2nd year I came to the US.

    GC gives you the peace of mind that you won’t be deported/denied entry if you lose your job or if something screwed up.
    Mar 5 1
    • Microsoft 470n3
      OP
      Huh. I knew that being a non-resident was a thing but for whatever reason I didn’t think to actually do it. Thanks!
      Mar 5
  • New / Eng
    KevinMital

    New Eng

    PRE
    Google, Facebook
    KevinMitalmore
    You cannot stay outside gc for long. Immigration officers are now harassing people who stay outside even for 6 months in a year.
    Mar 4 1
    • Microsoft 470n3
      OP
      Good point, I’ve just assumed I’d only leave the country for short vacations but it’s possible I could take a job elsewhere.
      Mar 5
  • eBay ebaybee
    Won't you get double taxed if you were on GC and decided to live in Canada? GC holders are required to pay taxes to US no matter where they live. Unless nafta tax treaties alleviate that
    Mar 4 4
    • Microsoft 470n3
      OP
      Afaik it’s only when a citizen of the states that you have to file US taxes regardless of where you are. There’s still the tax treaty to prevent double taxation though.
      Mar 5
    • eBay ebaybee
      Not true. Research online
      Mar 5
    • Microsoft 470n3
      OP
      Yup my bad, you’re right.
      Mar 5
    • There is tax treaty so you don’t get double taxed. Get a good accountant
      Mar 6
  • Bloomberg ezJV08
    Why didn’t you move your residency status to the States since you’re on a TN? (Resident for tax purposes / non resident for immigrating purposes) Stop giving Canada money when you don’t have to. Especially with that shitty prime minister.
    Mar 5 2
    • Microsoft 470n3
      OP
      I’m going to do that now. Looking at it online, it’s something I should’ve done when I first came to the states.
      Mar 5
    • Bloomberg ezJV08
      Technically the states consider you a resident automatically if you spent more than 183 days in a year. If you did that, just stop filing Canadian taxes (unless you still have investments / property / revenue from Canadian sources obviously). Oh and get rid of your TFSA if you didn’t do that already, US doesn’t recognize it and you’ll need to pay US taxes on profits.
      Mar 5
  • Intuit / Other
    NoTaxation

    Intuit Other

    BIO
    You won’t find anything useful here
    NoTaxationmore
    The biggest benefits are not being tied to employers that’ll be willing to sponsor you and able to generate additional income with side hustle. Not a big deal if you don’t want to stay in US long term but if your company is paying for it why not?
    Mar 5 1
    • Microsoft 470n3
      OP
      True, I could go on sabbatical or be able to work with a tiny startup who can’t do a TN.
      Mar 5
  • Salesforce rcno01
    Do you wanna be American or not? If not, don't bother
    Mar 4 1
    • Microsoft 470n3
      OP
      That’s a good way to look at it. Nope, I don’t.
      Mar 5
  • Amazon / Eng mdiiytedhk
    Isn't TN visa a non-immigrant one? Can you apply for GC while on TN? Or are you planning to go via H1B route?
    Mar 5 3
    • Bloomberg ezJV08
      You can switch from TN to GC process. Just don’t leave the country until you get your EAD/AP cause they won’t let you back in.
      Mar 5
    • EPAM Systems / QA ham3seW
      You can apply for GC while on TN
      Mar 5
    • Microsoft 470n3
      OP
      Yeah, as above said you can get your GC while on TN. From what I’ve read it’s a bit tricky as you need to start the process early enough into your TN to have enough buffer for everything. If there’s a family emergency you can’t leave the country. If you get fired/laid off and you go back to Canada, you can’t come back on a TN.
      Mar 5
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Microsoft 470n3
      OP
      True, my tax filing wouldn’t change even after GC. What do you mean by the second? A GC now would mean in that in your stated case I can just wander back to the US without needing TN or anything.
      Mar 4