Moving to Canada from the USA: A Comprehensive Guide for American Expats

Recently, more Americans have expressed a desire to move to Canada. This is the reason we've put up this thorough guide on moving from the US to Canada. The following parts go over the best methods for US citizens seeking permanent residence in Canada.

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Why are so many Americans considering a move to Canada?

Not just you, either. As per sources Canada’s appeal as an immigration destination has been increasing over the past two decades, with a total of 492/ 984 people immigrating to the country between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.

This figure is an increase from 2000-2001 when approximately 252,527 immigrants came to Canada and is more than double the figure recorded for 2020-2021.

With 113,167 male and 113,036 female immigrants to Canada in 2021, there was almost an even split in terms of gender. In addition, China, the Philippines, and India accounted for the majority of immigrants to Canada.

 The fifth most popular nation of birth for Canadian citizens who were born abroad was the United States.

If you move to Canada, you and your family might have access to a wide choice of career, healthcare, and educational possibilities.

Before going to Canada for a visit, to study, or to work, you need to be informed of your options for getting in and staying there legally.

How can I move to Canada from the US as a permanent resident?

The styles through which someone can immigrate to Canada from the USA are analogous to those of other countries. This means some of the easiest ways for Moving to Canada From the USA are:

  • Getting a permanent job
  • Family Sponsorship
  • Startup Visa
  • Provincial Nominee Programs
  • Express Entry

The process of carrying a Permanent Residence in Canada includes meeting several eligibility criteria, gathering documents, filling out forms, and applying through your IRCC( Immigration, Deportees and Citizenship Canada) account.

Getting a permanent job in Canada

If someone does not need a visa to enter Canada, everyone should have a work permit and express entry if they want to work in Canada for any length of time.

Still, in order to be eligible for a work permit, there are many conditions you have to meet, including

  • You should have a job offer from a Canadian employer
  • Your employer must have a Labor Market Impact Assessment Certified
  • You must have sufficient funds.
  • You must not have a previous criminal record.
  • You must be in good health.

The Express Entry procedure is one of the simplest ways for Americans to immigrate to Canada.

For three of Canada's economic immigration categories, Express Entry is used to handle the bulk of applications.

If you fit the qualifications for one of the programs indicated below, you might be eligible for Canadian permanent residency through Express Entry.

Express Entry handles 80% of petitions for permanent status in less than six months, making it one of the fastest immigration processes in the world.


federal Economic Immigration System

There are three federal economic immigration streams:

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW)

If you have at least a year of professional work experience, satisfy the minimal French or English language requirements, and score at least 67 out of a possible 100 points on the FSW selection grid, you might be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST)

If you have two years of experience in a skilled trade, meet the minimum language requirements in French or English, and have either a Canadian certificate of qualification to practice your trade in Canada or a job offer in your skilled trade in Canada, you may be eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

If you have worked in a professional capacity (NOC 0, A, or B) for at least a year in Canada with a valid work visa and meet the minimal language requirements in French or English, you may be eligible to apply for the Canadian Experience Class.

Scores are used in these competitive courses. Keep in mind that it is not enough to merely meet the requirements for one of these programs. Only those with the best overall scores may submit an application for admission to Canada. Candidates are scored in comparison to one another.

Are you interested in your possible CRS score? Using CRS score calculator, you may find out your CRS score for Canadian Express Entry immigration.

Additionally, each province administers its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which offers immigration schemes for skilled workers.

Can a US permanent resident work in Canada?

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for one of the following work visas if you are traveling to Canada from the US to work:

NAFTA Work Permits

Some categories of temporary workers are given access to each other's markets as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which connects Canada, the United States, and Mexico. This promotes trade between the three countries. 

American citizens may be awarded NAFTA work permits through the International Mobility Program to temporarily work in Canada without completing a Labour Market Impact Assessment if they have a qualifying employment offer from a Canadian employer (LMIA).

Additionally, they facilitate the rapid promotion of American employees into management or executive roles for American companies with Canadian operations.

Employer-Specific Work Permit

If you have a valid job offer from that firm, you might be eligible to enter Canada on an employer-specific work permit.

 An employer-specific work visa usually requires a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is a document that proves the employer tried to fill the position with a Canadian citizen before it was made accessible to a foreign national, or permanent resident.

If a person with an employer-specific work permit reaches Canada and decides they want to change jobs, they must apply for a new work visa.

Spousal Open Work Permit

If your spouse or common-law partner is a temporary foreign worker or an international student in Canada, or if you're going through the inland sponsorship process, you might be eligible for a spousal open work visa. 

As long as your current permit is still in existence, you won't need to apply for a new one if you change jobs because this type of permit is not employer-specific.

Can I move to Canada from the US as an international student?

canada from usa

Compared to studying in the US, studying in Canada has a number of benefits, including lower tuition rates, speedier visa processing times, and the ability to begin working right away.

 A student can work up to 40 hours per week during breaks and holidays and 20 hours per week while classes are in session if they have a study visa for Canada.

During their first academic year, foreign students in the US on F-1 visas are not permitted to work off-campus, although they are permitted to accept on-campus jobs with some restrictions. 

Even beyond their first year, there may be a cap on the number of employment open to international students in the US, making them stay more expensive.

Working is good, but having more money to spend on more things is even better. Thankfully, students can afford to stay and eat cheaper in Canada than they do in the US. You won't need to spend as much time and money on your education in Canada as you would in the US.

Universities in Canada offer both 2-year Associate degrees and 3-year Bachelor's degrees. Moving to Canada via a study program from the US may also aid your long-term immigration plans. 

The majority of study programs allow you to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada when they are finished. Your PGWP may be in effect for a maximum of three years, the same amount of time as your study permit.

If you have work experience in Canada in addition to a degree from a Canadian university, your chances of being approved for permanent residency in Canada are greatly boosted. 

Finding a sponsoring company is necessary if you wish to extend your stay in the US through employment.

How much does it cost to immigrate to Canada from the US?

The majority of visa applications need payment of processing costs to the government. These charges are the same regardless of your nationality or location of origin. Processing fees vary depending on the immigration program you are eligible for.

The cost to apply for a work permit in Canada is $155 and the cost to apply for a study permit in Canada is $150.

When completing an application for permanent residency, it is necessary to pay the $490 Right of Permanent Residency fee (RPFR).

Visiting Canada

If you are entering Canada with a valid US passport, you do not need a Canadian visa or an electronic travel visa (eTA). If you are not a citizen of Canada, a permanent resident, or come from a nation like the US that does not require a visa, you will need a visiting visa to enter the country.

 If you have a US Green Card, you can enter Canada without needing a visa. However, you will require an eTA if you are flying to or through a Canadian airport.

With a visitor visa, look for a job, and even take part in some short-term education programs legally for up to 6 months in Canada. But from within Canada, you are not permitted to work or even apply for a work or study permit.


You must be eligible for admission to Canada and fulfill the requirements for moving to Canada from the United States. 

People who would otherwise be eligible for immigration but are not admissible are referred to as inadmissible. Medical inadmissibility and criminal inadmissibility are the two main types of exclusion.

You may be deemed medically ineligible if you have a medical condition that puts Canadians in danger or places an undue burden on the country's publicly sponsored social and health services.

If you have a criminal past, you might not be allowed to enter Canada. Even minor offenses that don't carry a jail sentence might cause significant issues if you want to immigrate to Canada from the US or even just visit.

There are procedures to take if you think your criminal or medical history may make you inadmissible to Canada. To discuss your alternatives for moving to Canada from the USA, get in touch with us.

Settling in Canada

Once you've decided to move to Canada from the US, you'll need a plan to settle in: find housing, locate employment opportunities, set up your finances, and make arrangements for your healthcare. 

Fortunately, Canada offers some of the best free services in the world for new immigrants.


When relocating from the US to Canada, at-will employment is one of the most significant differences in the workplace. 

At-will employment indicates that a worker may be let go at any time and without cause, and this is a frequent practice in the US. After termination, the company is not required to give the employee severance pay. 

However, depending on the number of years worked, employees in Canada are required to be given two weeks' notice of their termination or two weeks' regular pay or severance.

The right of workers to take maternity or paternity leave is another significant distinction between the US and Canada.

Up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave may be granted to qualified American workers, but this leave is not reimbursed. 

The rules in Canada, which is across the border from the US, are very different. A conventional paid leave of 35 weeks or an extended leave of 61 weeks may be taken by both parents. 

A portion of the employee's compensation is paid during this time off, and their position is kept in anticipation of their return.


You cannot stop filing or even paying US taxes after moving to Canada from the US. Treaties between the US and Canada forbid double taxation and financial avoidance. 

Even while both countries' tax systems appear to be identical and involve a lot of paperwork, there are some significant distinctions. 

The greatest distinction is that you will probably pay more taxes if you work in Canada. Although this may appear to improve the US's image, it's important to consider where this tax money is actually going. 

Those tax money support a variety of social services in Canada, such as universal healthcare and education, whereas a disproportionately higher percentage of tax revenue in the US is used to support US defense expenditures.

You should be aware that there are no joint tax returns if you are married or in a common-law relationship. 

Every person in Canada is required to file their own tax return. However, this does not preclude you from splitting costs with your partner, such as child care and charitable contributions.


Once you've made the decision to relocate from the US to Canada, you'll need to find housing. Both nations have similar processes for finding a rental or ownership property. 

You can request a visit and examine the property by conducting a search online, working with an agent, or looking through newspaper ads. 

You must sign a lease for the duration of your intended stay once you've selected a place to live.

Keep in mind that, similar to the US, each province or territory in Canada may have different rules governing the signing of a lease.


The healthcare system in the US and Canada differs significantly. All Canadian citizens and permanent residents have access to the hospital and doctor services provided by their home province's health insurance program. 

In the US, your employer will often cover your medical expenses. However, you might not be able to purchase private insurance in the United States if your company does not participate in an insurance program, you lose your job, or for a variety of other reasons.

In 2017 alone, about 11% of the US population was uninsured. Unfortunately, this high percentage isn’t because Americans aren’t sick; they can’t afford medical care.

Canadian Citizenship

To apply for Canadian citizenship you must have permanent resident (PR) status in Canada and have been physically present in Canada for at least 1095 days (approximately three years) during the five years before the date you signed your application. 

Any time in Canada as a student, visitor, or worker before becoming a permanent resident within the last five years will count as one-half day, up to a maximum of 365 full days, towards your physical presence. 

So, the sooner you start your stay in Canada, the sooner you are on your path to citizenship.


Q: What is the process for moving to Canada from the USA?

A: The process for moving to Canada from the USA can vary depending on the individual's circumstances. However, in general, the process typically involves obtaining a visa or permanent residency, meeting certain eligibility requirements, and going through the necessary immigration procedures.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements for moving to Canada from the USA?

A: Eligibility requirements can vary depending on the specific visa or permanent residency program being applied for. However, some common eligibility requirements include having a clean criminal record, being in good health, having sufficient funds to support oneself, and meeting certain language proficiency requirements.

Q: What types of visas or permanent residency options are available for moving to Canada from the USA?

A: There are several different types of visas and permanent residency options available for individuals who want to move to Canada from the USA. These include skilled worker visas, student visas, family sponsorship programs, and business immigration programs.

Q: How long does it take to obtain a visa or permanent residency in Canada?

A: The length of time it takes to obtain a visa or permanent residency in Canada can vary depending on the individual's circumstances and the specific program being applied for. In general, the process can take several months to over a year.

Q: Can I work in Canada if I move from the USA?

A: Yes, it is possible to work in Canada if you move from the USA. However, you may need to obtain a work permit or meet certain eligibility requirements in order to do so.

Q: Do I need to speak French to move to Canada from the USA?

A: Speaking French is not a requirement for moving to Canada from the USA. However, depending on the province or territory you plan to live in, knowledge of French or another language may be helpful.

Q: Will I lose my US citizenship if I move to Canada?

A: No, you will not automatically lose your US citizenship if you move to Canada. However, you may need to renounce your US citizenship if you become a Canadian citizen.

Q: What should I consider before deciding to move to Canada from the USA?

A: Before deciding to move to Canada from the USA, you should consider factors such as job prospects, cost of living, climate, healthcare, and cultural differences. It may also be helpful to consult with an immigration lawyer or advisor to discuss your options and eligibility.

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