Canada and the United States have a very close relationship that goes beyond just sharing a border. Both countries carry out a whole lot of bilateral trade, as supported by NAFTA, and also share common values, especially in terms of environmental protection, law enforcement, security, and free trade.
According to reports, around 380,000 people pass through the Canadian-American border on a daily basis for numerous reasons including travel, family, and business. While living in the US can be very lovely and enticing at times, but truth be told, things have changed and certain things are not what they used to be.
If you’re very eager to move to Canada permanently from the US, the good news is that it is very possible, and you have various routes to achieve that purpose. However, the bad news is twofold, but depending most often on your aim for moving.
The first, which is more immediate than the second, is the fact that although the Canadian border is currently open to the US, there have been some changes in immigration to more or less slow the spread of the Coronavirus. And if you’re very much eager to become a Canadian citizen, it’s can be quite difficult to achieve that currently, therefore you may have to consider other viable options besides citizenship.
Ideally, Americans can stay in Canada for up to six months with just a visitor visa, but have it in mind that individuals with this visa cannot work or study in Canada. If you intend to stay longer than six months in Canada as an American citizen, then you can request a visitor record that makes available a new expiration date that allows you to stay longer as a visitor, but this will be influenced by the purpose of your stay and certain other factors.
However, if you are bent on moving to Canada permanently from the US, you may want to apply for permanent resident status. Although permanent residents are allowed to work, study, and have healthcare in Canada, unlike citizens, they are not permitted to vote, run for office, or even be offered certain jobs with high-security clearance.
Nevertheless, if you have spent at least five years in Canada as a permanent resident — and can show evidence that you were physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days during those five years — you can apply for Canadian citizenship.
5 Ways to Move to Canada from USA
For Americans looking to move to Canada permanently, the Canadian government has numerous immigration programs that you may want to consider. These programs include;
Table of Contents
- Express Entry Program
- Family Class Sponsorship
- LMIA Work Visa
- The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)
- Canadian Investor Immigration
- Business Immigration Processing Fees
- Economic Immigration Processing Fees
- Family Sponsorship Processing Fees
- Right of Permanent Residence Fee
- Citizenship Processing Fees
- Prepare for Your Move
- Rent or Buy a Home
- Invest In Durable Clothes For Your Local Climate
- Open a Bank Account
- Declare Your Intent To Reside
- Provide Your Income Tax Filing
Express Entry Program
This Canadian Immigration Program gives room for immigrants to live and work in Canada as skilled workers. This new system also allows Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to forethoughtfully analyze, recruit, and choose immigrants who are skilled and/or have the necessary qualifications required under federal economic immigration programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
Also, have it in mind that this Canadian immigration program allows individual provinces and territories to leverage the system to recruit qualified candidates as part of the Provincial Nominee Programs so that labor market demands are met. While there have been slower processing times owing to the Covid-19 outbreak, consider this program as a US citizen as things are expected to get back to normal by mid-year of 2022.
Family Class Sponsorship
Note that immigration is faster for those who have relatives in Canada. Have it in mind that families in Canada can sponsor their relatives to move permanently to Canada from the US. This Canadian Immigration program works in one of two ways – inland and outland.
The inland sponsorship is when the individual sponsored is already living in Canada, while the outland sponsorship is for someone who is living outside of Canada. To qualify to sponsor a relative, the family member will have to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Who they can sponsor include: their spouse and children under the age of 22 (there are some exceptions to this). Sponsoring parents or grandparents is no longer an option at this time.
LMIA Work Visa
A good number of applicants for Canadian immigration from the US first obtain Canadian job offers, apply for a work visa and on that basis, immigrate to Canada. This Canadian immigration program more or less involves landing a Canadian job offer, having the Canadian employer apply for an LMIA through Service Canada, and then the applicant applying for the work permit after the LMIA is approved. While this can be a very long and daunting process, it can genuinely lead to Canadian permanent residency.
The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)
Truth be told, this immigration program is becoming a very popular option for moving permanently to Canada, especially for US citizens. Note that some provinces in Canada like Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, and others have their own immigration programs that genuinely lead to a fast-track process.
This Canadian immigration program requires that applicants reside in the particular Provinces after they arrive in Canada. In addition, most PNPs tend to require a job offer from a Canadian employer in order to qualify.
Canadian Investor Immigration
This Canadian immigration program is specifically meant for high-net-worth individuals who have owned or managed businesses overseas. Note that by giving room for experienced business people to invest in the Canadian economy, the government is genuinely improving the overall growth and prosperity of the country. There are two investor immigration programs in Canada: The Federal Investor Program and the Quebec program.
Howbeit, both programs are quite similar and will warrant that the applicants have a high net worth and also make a massive investment in a well-noted investment fund for a 5 year period. Note that immigrants via this immigration program can bring their spouses and children as dependents on their applications.
How Much Does It Cost to Move to Canada from USA?
The cost of moving to Canada permanently from the US will vary from program to program, depending on the immigration stream to which you apply. In addition, once your application has been approved, you will be expected to pay the Right of Permanent Residence Fee, a separate fee that will have to be paid by all approved applicants, irrespective of which program they apply under. Here is a simple breakdown of the cost of moving to Canada permanently from the US;
Business Immigration Processing Fees
Have it in mind that anyone looking to move to Canada permanently via the Investor, Entrepreneur, or Self-Employed streams of immigration will be expected to pay the following processing fees in CAD:
- Principal applicant: CAD1,575
- Spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner: Add CAD825
- A dependent child under the age of 22 or a dependent over the age of 22 who can’t support themselves financially owing to certain physical or mental condition: Add CAD225 per dependent
Don’t forget that applying to certain provincial immigration programs may warrant that you also pay some extra processing fees as stipulated by the provincial immigration authority.
Economic Immigration Processing Fees
Note that the processing fees detailed below apply to Quebec Skilled Workers, Provincial Nominee Programs, Atlantic Immigration Pilot, Federal Skilled Trades, Federal Skilled Workers, Canadian Experience Class.
- Principal applicant (Processing fee and right of permanent residence fee): CAD1325
- Spouse, common-law or conjugal partner (with right of permanent residence fee): CAD1325
- A dependent child under the age of 22 who is not a spouse or common-law/conjugal partner, or a dependent over the age of 22 who cannot support themselves financially owing to certain physical or mental condition: Add CAD225 each per dependent
Just like it was noted above, anyone applying to certain provincial immigration programs may be expected to pay extra processing fees as stipulated by the provincial immigration authority.
Family Sponsorship Processing Fees
In Canada, permanent residents who are looking to sponsor their family into the country will be expected to pay the following fees:
- Spouse or common-law partner (with the sponsorship fee, principal applicant fee, and right to permanent residence fee): CAD1050
- Dependent child: Add CAD150 per child
- Parent or grandparent (with the sponsorship fee, principal applicant fee, and right to permanent residence fee): CAD1050
- Spouse or common-law partner of your parent or grandparent: CAD1050
- Dependent children of your parent or grandparent: CAD150
Just as with other Canadian immigration programs, anyone applying to certain provincial immigration programs may have to pay extra processing fees as noted by the provincial immigration authority.
Right of Permanent Residence Fee
You have to understand that the fees noted above do not include the CAD500 Right of Permanent Residence fee (RPFR), which will have to be paid once an application for permanent residence has been approved. In Canada, this fee applies to all applicants and/or sponsored persons who are not dependent children or protected persons.
The RPFR can be paid along with the necessary processing fees at the time of applying to ensure you limit any form of delays. However, if an application for permanent residence is denied and the applicant has prepaid the RPFR, this fee will be refunded.
Citizenship Processing Fees
Once you or a family member is prepared to start the final process of your immigration journey to acquire Canadian citizenship, you will be expected to pay the following fees:
- Adult aged 18 and older: CAD630 per person
- Adopted minor (18 and under): CAD100 per person
- Minor (18 and under): CAD100 per person
- Citizenship certificate: Add CAD75 per person
- Resume citizenship application: CAD530 per person
- Resume citizenship application (18 and under): CAD100 per person
- Right of citizenship fee: Add CAD100 per person
In addition, permanent residents who are approved for Canadian citizenship will be expected to pay an extraCAD100 for the Right of Citizenship Fee, coupled with CAD75 to obtain their citizenship certificate.
After Getting your Canadian Visa, What Next?
After you must have gotten your Canadian Visa, the move from the US to Canada can be as easy as simply driving across the border with all your belongings. Once you’ve scaled through the immigration process and obtained your Canadian visa, you only have to arrange your belongings and move there either by land, air, or even ship.
Every year, including during the pandemic, tens of thousands of U.S. residents and citizens move to Canada to work and study. Although getting a valid job offer from a Canadian company can help you in the immigration process, a good number of successful economic class immigrants come to Canada without prearranged employment.
Note that US citizens are allowed to stay in Canada for up to six months with a simple visitor visa, however, if you’re considering moving to Canada from the US permanently, you’ll have to apply for permanent resident status. While permanent residents can work, study, and have healthcare in Canada, they can’t vote, run for office, or get certain jobs with high-security clearance.
If you are not already a citizen and you intend to become one, note that you have to spend at least five years in Canada as a permanent resident — and will be expected to prove that you were physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days during those five years. You will also be expected to be at least 18 years old, speak English or French, take a basic quiz on Canadian history, values, and institutions, and provide income tax filing, among other things.
Simple Steps to Follow After Getting Your Canadian Visa
If you have gone through the immigration process and have already received your Canadian visa, here are simple steps to guide you when moving to Canada.
Prepare for Your Move
Once you have gotten your Canadian Visa, the next thing is to plan your move. You need to make a detailed list of all your belongings, and have them in two copies. You should note items that are coming with you and items that will arrive later, and for those goods where applicable, make sure to include the value, make, model, and serial number.
While you may not necessarily be expected to pay taxes for everyday goods such as clothing, furniture, jewelry, silverware, family heirlooms, books, computers, musical instruments, it is still advisable you check the entry requirements to make sure that you have nothing to worry about.
Rent or Buy a Home
When you first get into the county from the US, note that you can leverage temporary housing like hotels, hostels, or Airbnb until you can find your footing. Gradually, you can begin to search for more permanent accommodations that will suit your taste or pocket.
Have it in mind that renting is always recommended over buying during the early stage of the move; the average price for a one-bedroom apartment goes around CAD 1,500. Do not forget that prices in big cities tend to be quite exorbitant compared to other moderate towns.
Invest In Durable Clothes For Your Local Climate
Aside from being the second-largest country on earth behind Russia, Canada has no singular “Canadian climate,” even if people tend to think it’s just cold most of the time. Depending on how close you live to the British Columbia coast, spring can begin as early as February, and summer temperatures can rise into the 90s.
Find out what the weather is like in the province you intend to live in and the sort of clothes you will need. This will ensure you don’t waste money or space buying unnecessary items.
Open a Bank Account
After you move to Canada, have it in mind that you will require a bank account to carry out money transfers and transactions. To open a bank account, you will first need to get an identity card. In your case, a permanent resident card will surely work. To make this more convenient for you, the following banks make available specific “newcomer” programs:
- National Bank of Canada.
- Bank of Montreal.
- Royal Bank of Canada.
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Declare Your Intent To Reside
To become a permanent resident in Canada, you will be expected to confirm your plans to stay in Canada. The government considers permanent residence as living in Canada for at least three years in five years.
However note that days spent in Canada before permanent residence status count as half-days, up to a maximum of a year, and can be used toward the citizenship requirement. If you fail to spend that amount of time within the borders, you can lose your permanent residence status.
Provide Your Income Tax Filing
To be considered a permanent resident, you will also be expected to provide three years’ worth of tax returns in the five years leading up to the date of your application. The aim here is to ascertain if your job is legit. Canada offers one of the world’s most accessible paths to citizenship. About 85 percent of Canada’s immigrants go on to become citizens.
Moving to Canada from the US isn’t that difficult. Since Canada is a country open to accepting new immigrants, it’s easier for you as a US citizen to qualify for one immigration stream as long as you meet the requirements. However, remember that while moving to Canada from the US may not be that challenging, living in another country can be very difficult if you are not prepared financially, mentally, and socially for the move.