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Foreign ownership

Please note that the following is meant as a guideline only, and is not meant to represent legal advice. In purchasing any property, NIHO strongly advises seeking advice from a notary public or lawyer. 

What taxation is payable when a non-resident purchases land?

There is a Property Transfer Tax, or a PTT, which both Canadian residents and non-residents have to pay. This is payable when the sale transaction is registered at a Land Title office. The PTT amounts to 1% of the first $ 200,000 of the fair market value, and 2% on the rest of the value.

"Real Property" is also subject to 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST). In Canada, real property includes raw land, permanent structures, mobile homes, and floating homes. Real property does not include used residential units. Please note that vacant land will always have GST applied to it, no matter what the purchaser intends on doing with the land.

There is no annual tax compliance or reporting issues on Canadian recreational or personal real estate. Where the tax issues begin for non-residents is when it comes time to sell your real estate. Please talk to your notary or lawyer regarding current regulations on income tax paid on the capital gains realized from a property's sale.

How long can I stay in BC?

U.S. citizens crossing into Canada as tourists can stay in the country for 180 days without a visa. If you want to stay longer than 180 days as a tourist, you have to apply for an extension at least 30 days before you're required to leave Canada.

At the date of this writing, the following countries do not need visas to enter Canada, and may remain in the country for 180 days. If your country is not on this list, you will need to obtain a visa to enter Canada,

  • Citizens of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (National Passport holders only), Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Republic of Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Slovenia, Switzerland, United States, and Western Samoa;
  • Persons lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence who are in possession of their alien registration card (Green card) or can provide other evidence of permanent residence.
  • British citizens and British Overseas Citizens who are re-admissible to the United Kingdom;
  • Citizens of British dependent territories who derive their citizenship through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British dependent territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands;
  • Persons holding a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China;
  • Persons holding passports or travel documents issued by the Holy See.

If you want to move to your property, you may want to apply for permanent residency. These applications must be made outside of Canada. To obtain more information on how to apply for Permanent Resident status, please go to the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration website:

Do you have any other questions related to foreign ownership of property? Click here to contact a NIHO Land specialist for more answers.