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The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Canada for Americans

Jane Davis November 20, 2020
Posted November 20, 2020 In Living Abroad,
Jane Davis

Apart from being a freelance writer and moving expert, Jane is also an art and museum lover.

In the past few years, we’ve all witnessed that moving to Canada became a hot topic among Americans and that many are willing to move to the land of cold winters, maple syrup, and hockey. The Great White North is home to one of the largest American expats communities, and it is close, so close, you won’t even feel like you’re moving internationally. For all of you looking to move to Canada from the US, we prepared a guide that summarizes all the things you should know before becoming a Canadian.

Moving to Canada from the USA is not so hard when you know you’ll be relocating to one of the friendliest countries in the world. Our northern neighborhood has plenty of things to offer, which is why many decide to forget about all those jokes about Canadians and become one of them. Whatever your reasons for moving abroad are, we believe that moving from the US to Canada could easily be one of the best decisions you’ve made. So, let’s take a look at how exactly you can live in another country.

Things to Know Before Moving to Canada

Whether you’re moving to another country for love, business, alone, or moving with dogs, there are some basic things you should know. Like, for example, the fact that there are more than one million Americans in the Great White North, which means that in pretty much every city, you can find an expat community of your compatriots. Here’s some more facts:

  • CA has a population of around 37.5 million people, who live in ten provinces and three territories.
  • Besides English, French is also an official language, so you might have to learn a new language abroad if you move to one of the francophone provinces.
  • The official currency is the Canadian dollar (CAD), and currently, for 100 USD, you can expect to get around 131 CAD.
  • CA is a multicultural hub, with residents who belong to more than 200 different ethnicities, which shows that this is one of the best countries to live in as an expat.
  • Prepare for extremely cold winters. The temperature can drop to even -22°F, so you’ll just have to wear loads of warm clothes and maybe book a vacay to Florida.
  • CA ranks exceptionally high in education, healthcare, and quality of life.

How to Move to Canada From the USA – Just Pick the Right Immigration Program and Start a New Life

As US citizens, we can stay in CA for up to six months without a visa, which is long enough to serve as a trial period to help you see how to live abroad. So, everything you need from documents needed to travel abroad is a valid US passport, but for a longer or permanent stay, you should prepare some papers. There are more than 80 immigration programs provided by the Canadian government, and based on the nature of your relocation, you have to pick the best one for your case. But if you’re wondering how to immigrate to Canada from the US, you’ll probably be looking at some of the following immigration programs:

Apply for the Express Entry Program

Although some things might go slower than usual due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the express entry is still the fastest way to obtain Canadian citizenship. The Immigration looks at the express entry as a selection program, so all interested should fill the CanadaVisa assessment form to check if they are eligible for this. Candidates are selected based on the number of points they get out of a total of 1200. You can earn points for anything, from language, education, work experience, work offers, and more. If you get a high score, you’ll be invited to apply for permanent residence in the next three months.

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Provincial Nominee Programs

Every province, except Quebec and the territory of Nunavut, has its provincial nominee program (PNP,) and each program is different. So you should first decide where you want to settle down and go through the terms to check if you’re eligible. You first have to apply to the province and be nominated by their side, which will give you 600 points, and then you apply to IRCC for permanent residence. Out of all provinces, British Columbia has the easiest and fastest documentation process, which is why it is often the first choice among newcomers.

Skilled Workers Immigration Program in Quebec

The largest province in CA, Quebec, has a special program for skilled workers looking to apply for jobs in Canada. Unlike other provinces, Quebec doesn’t have a Provincial Nominee Program, and it only accepts highly skilled immigrants who are able to become economically self-sufficient in no time. If a candidate’s profile is recognized as suitable, he or she will be able to apply for permanent residence.

Can I Live in Canada if I Am a US Citizen?

Many are wondering can a US citizen move to Canada without giving up on its citizenship, and the short answer is – yes. You can be a permanent resident of CA and still have a US citizenship. Applying for Canadian citizenship is not a mandatory thing to do. Also, you can stay up to 6 months there as a business visitor who takes part in international business, with eTA or visitor visa. Americans can work under the auspice of what used to be called NAFTA but is now known as USMCA, a US-Mexico-Canada agreement that supports mutual trades, fair market, and economic growth.

Are Canadians and Americans More Similar Than They Think?

One of the great debates is, are Americans and Canadians similar or different? Let’s take a look at this video to find out what the differences are and how big or small they are.

Can You Move to Canada Without a Job?

This is a somewhat tricky question, but technically, you can move there without a job offer waiting for you. Unlike some other countries, Canada’s immigration system election allows foreigners to immigrate with no job, but only through some programs, like the Provincial Nominee Program, Federal Trades Program, or Canadian Experience Class. You can also move there as a student. Since Canada’s highly ranked universities actually have cheaper tuition fees, many US students decide to move and invest in their education abroad.

We Hope You’re Already On the Job Hunt Mission

If you’ve heard how expensive life in CA can be, then you’re probably aware you’ll need to start working as soon as possible. Especially if you’re thinking about moving to Vancouver or Toronto, the two most expensive cities. Luckily for you, you won’t have to worry about breaking the language barrier, just look at a guide, learn a bit of slang, and use “eh” a lot. Keep in mind all the essential relocation questions to ask your employer, such as health insurance, housing, commute time, and so on.

How the Healthcare System Works

Canada’s healthcare system is recognized as one of the world’s best and most expensive ones. The free public healthcare is funded mainly by taxpayers, and every province has a different plan of free services that are eligible through it. One major downside is the waiting time, which is why more and more Canadians invest in private healthcare. Private healthcare is also a good option for expats because if you don’t have permanent residence you can’t use its perks. Luckily, private healthcare plans are not over the top expensive, and their price can vary from $60 to $110 per month. This is also something you can obtain through your employer, so make sure to discuss that when you’re in your interview.

How Much Money Do You Need to Immigrate to Canada?

Moving overseas is never cheap, but besides the costs of your international moving services, there should be more room in your budget for the settlement funds. Information, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) tend to change the required amount of settlement funds each year, but it also depends on some other factors. For example, are you relocating alone or with a spouse and family. In 2020, a single person looking to move would need almost 10,000 USD in savings to qualify for permanent residence. A couple needs around 12,000 USD and then an additional 2,500 USD for every next household member.

Will Those Who Move to Canada From the US Be Enjoying a More Affordable Costs of Living?

Many of those moving to Canada from the US are worried about the high cost of living in Canada, but the truth is that it is not so expensive, especially if you choose to relocate to some of the cheapest places to live in Canada. Try relocating to some of the best neighborhoods in Montreal, and you’ll be surprised by low costs and high-quality lifestyle. On the other hand, if you’re moving to Ontario, keep in mind that you’re going to one of the most expensive provinces. But at the same time, the chances of finding a well-paid job are also higher there, so weigh all the pros and cons before making a final decision.

The Cost of Moving Internationally to Canada, We Hope Your Budget Is Ready

Overseas shipping is not a cheap sport, but you might be able to save some bucks on packing services or boxes and moving supplies, but things like oversized freight and custom crating are something you can’t overlook. Make sure to create a moving expenses checklist and include also renting storage and overseas vehicle shipping. Tracking your expenses will help you reduce stress when relocating to one of the best places to live abroad with the help of a reliable international moving company.

Is Moving to Canada a Good Idea? We Can’t Wait For You to Find Out

Think about it, who wouldn’t want to stay in such a beautiful country, where everyone’s so polite you’re almost uncomfortable? Don’t let the cold winters and prejudices scare you. We’re sure you’ll be able to keep in touch with friends because you’re not really moving across the world. It is more like you’re in the neighborhood, especially if you’re living close to the border. So if you have a chance, seize it. Schedule a free moving estimate and start planning your international moving adventure.



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