Canadians as Working Campers

- Bernie B.
(Kitchener, Ontario, CA)

Can Canadians be workcampers legally?

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Volunteering in US Parks

Hi! My Wife and I have volunteered as Campground Hosts in North Dakota and Minnesota for a month each (longer if we wish) going for our 5th year in each in 2017. We must not take a job away from a US Citizen, so there is a listing from US Customs om what we may do and cannot do. We have chosen mid-July to mid August at one Park and September for the other.We applied in Manitoba where we reside but the term is too long and inflexible for our preferences. A 5-6 month stint is too long for us.
As for private campgrounds, we have not checked since we cannot take a wage for our time put in!
PS: We have filled out Form 8840, which documents when we leave Canada and return over the course of a three year averaging, not to exceed 183 days; otherwise we could be subject to US taxation.

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Canadians Workamping in the US

What is required for a Canadian citizen to workamp in the US? Other RV travelers have asked similar questions. We've merging those questions, answers, and comments onto one page, to better help our readers from Canada.

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Canadian Workamper Question

(Lyle Shaw writes)

Lyle Shaw, West Coast Fishing, BC 08

Lyle Shaw, West Coast Fishing, BC 08

I have been a subscriber to your subscription since I became aware of it, however as a Canadian RV workamper (just starting), have difficulty locating ads that apply to Canadians, as I do not believe we can work south of the border for other than an RV site, meaning, we cannot be paid for services other than a trade off for our site. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

And if that is the case, it would be great if the "Canadian Workamper" had a heading on your site.

Also, would it be worth your while to start a "Single Workampers" heading, or topic, as many of us are single? It would be a natural traffic builder for you if there were a heading relating to us, and a benefit to all.

Also, for those seeking workampers, it would be good to see postings expressing "single" or "couple", and would cut down on unnecessary email.

Thanks for lending your ear...

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Canadian Working RVers and Single Working RVers

Hi Lyle,

Thanks for some great suggestions.

We had a section dedicated to Canadian workers, and working in Canada, before we redesigned the site. I'm not sure what happened to it, or why it didn't get moved over to the new site. I'll check on that.

I think you are right, that in most instances Canadians cannot legally accept employment at private campgrounds in the USA.

Depending on your education, experience, and expertise, you may qualify for one of the various work permits. One source of information I've found on work permit information is I found that doing a Google search and have no personal knowledge of the company. The thing that I found particularly interesting there is the "Grasmick's TN List" of recognized TN professions; it is much broader than I expected.

We received a job listing this week from a business in Canada. When I posted it, I started the title with "Canada" so maybe that will help some. I'll try to remember to do that with all the Canadian positions in the future.

We do have a start on a section especially for single workers.
Single RVers. You'll find a few articles there already. I'm looking for more to add -- and welcome your input.

Our Experience with Canadian Workers (from frank p)


We have worked with Canadian RV'ers and workampers in Florida and Texas. Great workers and wonderful fun people. Some worked a few hours for site only while others received compensation for their skills and consulting.

In fact, one park we worked at was Canadian owned. Possibly the owner could not receive compensation in the US but the company in Canada received the revenues.

In any event, Coleen has already posted numerous ways to accomplish your goals.

We have learned that our cousins to the North are a very valuable asset to us Yanks, and yes, Rebels too :-).

Workamping in Canada and in the US (for Canadians)

A Canadian cannot workamp in the US in exchange for a site since the IRS considers the site income, and since it's income, it considers you working in the US and taking away a job from an American. I've done a lot of research about this and it seems that the easiest, if not fool proof, way of being able to camphost legally in the US is as a NPS international volunteer:

Of course, there are more applicants than there are positions, but if you can get in, the rest of the process is (supposedly) painless.

I've been workamping in Canada for two years now and have easily found work by traveling to an area I wanted to visit and then offering my services to RV parks. When I have applied from a distance, I have consistently been either ignored or been told that they would only consider my application if I was already on site. Workamping US-style hasn't really caught on in Canada.

Another option in Canada is volunteering with the national parks:

Can Canadian's Work in Campgrounds US

We, my husband and I, are in the process of becoming full time RVers and we wish to go south of the border for the fall and winter months. As Canadian's can we work at US campgrounds?

Coleen, the working while RVing editor replies:

It depends. As you read through the other posts in this thread, you will get a better idea of what you may or may not do.

Seeking Canadian Work Campers

Hi, How do I find workamper in Canada? I am an owner of a campground in West Kelowna, B.C. and every year we consider trying to find a couple who would be interested in staying in their RV on our site and working for their site as well as monetary compensation. We would like to hire someone who is from Canada, as it makes paying them much easier. We just do not know where to start.

[Editor's reply: Submit a Help Wanted ad to us, so we can post it on our Job Listings pages for you. Look to the upper left hand side of this page, and you should see "Submit Ad" and if you click on that, it will take you to a form, where you just type in your ad. There is no charge to you for this service.]

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Canadians and Working

- Carol
(Montreal, Quebec)

I am Canadian and will be spending 6 months of the year in the U.S. Do the campsites hire Canadians? If so, can we only do volunteer work?

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Green Card or Volunteer

I think Canadians need a green card work visa to legally work most jobs in the United States.

It's my understanding that Canadians are allowed to volunteer at government funded parks and other entities in the U.S.A.

Canadian readers, please share your experiences and let us know how you've found it to actually be.

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Canadians Volunteering in US

- Margaret S.

I was wandering if you could tell me, is it true that Canadians cannot workamp in the US any longer? My husband and I have been workampers for the past five years.

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Non-citizens Volunteering in USA

I've been following a discussion on this and it seems everyone has a different answer. The reports I'm getting are that even within the same agencies, they deal with Canadian volunteer prospects differently from one park to the next.

The most official thing I could find was on the website. There it says, "non-U.S. citizens residing outside the USA cannot participate in Federal volunteer programs."

It goes on to say on the site goes that the government is not a religious or non-profit service organization.

As for positions with private businesses, I think a work visa is still required, whether or not it is a paid position or a work in exchange for a site position. But, here, again, you'll get all sorts of answers and will likely hear that many people do it without problem.

Just AskThem!

A good suggestion someone just gave me:

Call the agency where you want to work or volunteer and ask them if you qualify.

I'd call the specific park or office, rather than assuming that all divisions do things the same.

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- Shirley

Can I, as a Canadian, be a work camper in the US?

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Canadians Work Camping in the USA

Hi Shirley,

In depends (at least in part) on what you mean by "work camper" and what type of work you do. It's my understanding that it is difficult, or at least time consuming, for most Canadians to receive the necessary work visa to legally work in the USA. Exceptions are made for various professions.

I've been told that Canadians may legally volunteer for government run parks in the U.S. However, I've also been told that some state and national parks do not accept volunteers from Canada.

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Canadians Work Camping in the USA

(Joan J. asks,,,)

Would you please investigate and confirm whether Canadian's can legally participate in the work camping program in the USA? Joan Jones

Coleen, the working while RVing editor comments:

Hi Joan,

I'm not a lawyer, so I cannot give you legal advice.

I have researched it at length and my understanding of it is that Canadians may legally work in the United States only if they have the correct paperwork, such as a work visa. It is my understanding that typical working RVers, such as those working in RV parks, cannot readily get the visas. It's my understanding that these are available for professional sports people, professional entertainers, highly specialized workers, etc. So, for the most part, as I understand it, Canadian work campers cannot be legally employed in the United States.

As for volunteering at government and charitable non-profits, it appears that it varies. It seems some allow it and some don't. If you are interested in volunteering for a specific agency, you might call them directly and ask.

Oh, and for the rest of the disclaimer, since I am neither an attorney or tax expert, for legal and tax advice, I can only suggest that you consult with a lawyer or tax expert.

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Canadians doing workamping in the US

- Roy

I thought Canadians couldn't do workamping in the US? What do you think?

Coleen, the working while RVing editor comments:

Canadians can legally work in the USA if they have the required paperwork and permits. It is my understanding, however, that they cannot just show up and legally work the same way a citizen of the United States does.

Go from this page on getting started work camping to the Workers On Wheels Work for RVers and Campers blog.

Comments for Canadians doing workamping in the US

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There Are Thousands of Canadian Workampers in USA

There are many workampers that I have met in the U.S. that are Canadians. They have informed me that, as long as you have the proper paper work and approvals that it is no problem.

The length of time that a Canadian can work in the U.S. is determined by the Canadians home Provence.

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Canadian Newsletter

(Tania asks...)

Do you have the same type of newsletter for RVers in Canada? What types of jobs there are for summer in Canada? I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and will be a full time RVer by the end of 2012.

Coleen, the working while RVing editor comments:

We don't do a separate newsletter for Canada. If you look through the job listings pages on our website, you will find some summer positions in Canada. They are mostly at campgrounds, tourist attractions, and service positions. For winter in the south, some government campgrounds welcome Canadians to volunteer and give an RV site in return. I've heard that some private campgrounds welcome Canadian RVers in work-for-a-site exchanges. Additionally, you might have an RV home-based business that you can do while you travel.

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