By John Tanet

PHOENIX — We get them every year: visitors who flock to Arizona to defrost. Whether they're from Canada or the United States, we all know these visitors as "snowbirds."

Whatever your thoughts on these yearly visitors, the Canadian Snowbird Visa Act introduced by Rep. Greg Stanton could extend the time that certain Canadian visitors can stay in the state by two months.

“Snowbirds - seasonal visitors attracted by Arizona’s warm weather - spend more than a billion dollars in our state every year,” said Congressman Stanton. “Allowing Canadian visitors to enjoy all that Arizona has to offer for even longer is good for local businesses, and means their dollars are reinvested here in our communities.” 

Under current laws, Canadian visitors can spend 182 days per year in the United States. The bill would extend that time to 240 days per year, but only for Canadian citizens over the age of 50 who either own or rent a home in the United States.

These snowbirds would be prohibited from working for U.S. employers or seeking public assistance, retaining their nonresident tax status.

The Canada Arizona Business Council estimates that snowbirds add $1.4 billion to Arizona's economy yearly.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Greg Stanton and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and is cosponsored by Reps. Bergman (R-MI), Castor (D-FL), Lesko (R-AZ), Foster (D-IL), Carter (R-GA), Quigley (D-IL), Rutherford (R-FL), Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Mast (R-FL), and Schweikert (R-AZ).