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.
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.