Moving to Canada from the USA

Moving to Canada from the US: The Ultimate Guide

Canada has a lot to offer, such as its black-blue lakes, rivers, mountains, and valleys. But there’s more. Canada is also progressive, with a big focus on immigration. This makes it a top choice for many people to move. So, if you’re thinking about moving to Canada from the US, you’ll find a country welcoming to newcomers.

In this guide, you’ll find out how you can move to Canada from the US. You’ll also see what documents or visa types can help you throughout the process. Let’s discover the details together.

How to Plan Moving to Canada from the US

Over the last 50 years, Canada’s multiculturalism has developed among foreign-born citizens. What’s more, immigrants have helped reduce aging demographics and boost economic development. Let’s learn about the immigration procedure and see how you can adjust to the new culture for a smooth transfer.

Customs in Canada

Canada’s culture is a blend of indigenous and European influences. Over time, Canada’s cultural mosaic absorbed immigrant communities’ characteristics.

It’s a joyful experience for newcomers. If you’re considering moving to Canada, here are some things to do you might find interesting:

What about the standards of living in Canada?

  • Canadians have one of the highest standards of living in the world.
  • Canada is recognized worldwide for its high standard of living.
  • Groceries, rents, and restaurant prices generally run higher in the USA than in Canada.
  • Clothing in the USA is often more budget-friendly, and wages are generally higher.
  • Canada has higher taxation rates than the USA.
  • Healthcare is publicly funded and accessible to all residents in Canada.
  • Tuition fees in Canada are notably lower than in the USA.

What activities can you do in Canada?

  • Participate in national events, celebrations, and commemorations.
  • Enjoy nature in one of Canada’s national parks.
  • Discover cultural traditions at a historic site.
  • Visit national treasures in Canada’s Capital region.
  • Engage in sports as part of a healthy and active lifestyle.

What does the Canadian lifestyle look like?

  • More than 80% of Canadians live in cities.
  • More than two-thirds of the population live within 100 kilometers of the southern border.
  • Major cities across both countries can be costly.

What else do you need to get ready?

  • Arrange accommodation.
  • Get your Social Insurance Number (SIN).
  • Open a bank account.

Shipping and Flying Goods to Canada from the USA

For this process, you can try to understand the regulations of both countries. Shipping and flying goods to Canada from the US also require a solid plan.

Here, we’ll show you the important steps to get ready.

  • Documentation: Carry a detailed invoice describing your goods, their value, and the parties involved.
  • Customs: Make sure all the goods comply with the Canadian rules.
  • Taxes and Duties: Control if you’re carrying the type of goods to which taxes and duties apply.
  • Shipping Methods: Check out the methods to ship goods from the USA to Canada.
  • Insurance: Try to get insurance coverage for your goods during transit.

    If you say you’re a good organizer, then let’s start keeping a list for your journey.

Healthcare in Canada: What It Means for Americans

Canada’s healthcare system is one of the benefits of moving from the US. Can you imagine what makes it that special? First, Canada boosts a universal healthcare system, and taxes fund it. What it means is that you’re not tied to your job or dependent on your income. You can just enjoy equal access to healthcare in Canada.

The Canadian healthcare system is known as Medicare. The coverage has a wide range of medical services and treatments.

  • Routine check-ups with your family doctor.
  • Visiting the emergency medical services.

As an American, you can feel the relief knowing that you’ll not face high healthcare costs.

🏡 "In 2023, over 25,000 U.S. residents relocated to Canada." 🏡

Job Market in Canada

The Canadian job market is diverse and robust.

Firstly, the country has been actively seeking international talent to fill gaps in the labor market for over 20 years. It’s a super advantage for you if you’re planning to move to Canada and have a job in the country.

Plus, the average salary in Canada is competitive. It’s often higher than in the United States.

Companies in Canada also offer benefits like working from home or training programs.

Ready to experience a different work culture? Working in Canada looks like a promising opportunity for Americans. Especially if you’re seeking to broaden your career horizons.

How Can Americans Get a Permanent Job in Canada?

If you want to get a work permit and a job in Canada, here are some steps to follow, such as:

Job Search: Look for a job that aligns with your skills and qualifications. You can use online platforms and newspapers’ classified sections.

Work Permit Application: Apply for a work permit that suits your situation and your employer.

Meeting Requirements: Ensure you meet the requirements for your work permit. This typically includes:

  • Having a valid job offer.
  • Undergoing a medical exam, if needed.
  • Providing a police certificate.
  • Proving that you have enough funds.

Democracy in Canada

Canada embraces inclusion, equality, and respect for human rights. People are free to make choices that impact their lives in this system. This democratic system leads to improved quality of life, a more equitable society, increased security and stability, and a path to prosperity.

Canadian democracy offers a civil society, a free press, and an efficient government. It’s a prime example of a well-functioning democracy. The democracy in Canada encourages inclusion, equality, and respect for human rights.

"21% of permanent residents in Canada are immigrants."

Taxation in Canada

Canada has a progressive tax system. By that, we mean that the more you earn, the more you pay in taxes. You can also lower your taxable income and reduce your tax burden. But how? Canada also offers many tax credits and deductions. So be sure to know the details.

We can give you an example. You can claim a basic personal amount, a spouse or common-law partner amount, a Canada caregiver amount, and a disability amount. Also, you can deduct certain expenses related to your employment, education, or childcare.

Since you’re a US citizen, benefiting from tax treaties between Canada and the US is a good option. This prevents double taxation, allowing you to claim tax credits.

Education in Canada

Canada values education just like the US. It’s mandatory to attend school from the age of 6 to 18 years old. Moreover, high-quality public education is accessible across the country.

International students have the same rights and freedoms. We can’t deny the inclusivity, flexibility, and affordability of the Canadian education system.

Best International Universities in Canada

University of Toronto

#1 in Best Universities in Canada
#18 in Best Global Universities
Global Score: 83.8

University of British Columbia

#2 in Best Universities in Canada
#35 in Best Global Universities
Global Score: 77.5

McGill University

#3 in Best Universities in Canada
#54 in Best Global Universities
Global Score: 74.6

University of Alberta

#4 in Best Universities in Canada
#136 in Best Global Universities
Global Score: 67.1

McMaster University

#5 in Best Universities in Canada
#138 in Best Global Universities
Global Score: 67.0

Source: The U.S. News

Let’s agree that it’s an attractive option for American students to study in Canada.

Here are the key points about transferring from U.S. universities to Canadian ones:

  • Transfer applicants need some postsecondary coursework.
  • One year of full-time college studies or four full courses is typically required.
  • Evaluation is based on postsecondary coursework and high school results.
  • Some faculties offer limited transfer or credit opportunities.
  • Applying directly from high school to Canadian programs is possible.
  • Checking the specific policies of the Canadian university is crucial.

Language in Canada

Canada is bilingual. The country has two official languages: English and French. However, it doesn’t make the whole country speak both languages. It changes to provinces and territories, as not all of them are bilingual.

Quebec’s sole official language is French, and it’s the only province with one language. New Brunswick, on the other hand, is the only province that’s officially bilingual. English is the official language in some other provinces and territories. 

Will speaking English be enough? Or do you need to learn French to communicate in Canada as an American? Well, it depends on where you live in Canada. Learning a new language can be exciting for you. For this option, Canada offers many language programs.

Canadian Provinces with English as Their Official Language

Below is a list of the provinces and territories where English is recognized as an official language:

Manitoba: In Manitoba, English and French are the official languages.

New Brunswick: This province officially recognizes both English and French.

Nova Scotia: It’s bilingual and recognizes both English and French.

Nunavut: Besides English and French, Nunavut has other languages recognized as official languages.

Northwest Territories: English and French are the official languages in the Northwest Territories. However, like Nunavut, there are additional official languages.

It’s important to be aware that although French and English are official languages at the federal level. Quebec and New Brunswick are the only provinces where French is recognized as an official language.

Weather in Canada

When some people think about Canada, it’s a cliché to imagine only the snowy views. It’s a country with diverse climates. Weather conditions change depending on where you live. It’s possible to experience four seasons or only two.

In some areas, extreme temperatures range from -40°C in winter to 40°C in summer. When you look at the natural beauty of Canada, you’ll realize that some comes with the weather.

Snow-capped mountains, colorful forests, and sparkling lakes make it worth it. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, go on discovering all the activities possible. For instance, you can try skiing, skating, hiking, or camping.

Accommodation in Canada

For immigrants, Canada has a range of accommodation alternatives. However, particularly in big cities and during high seasons, you may face challenges. So, preparing ahead of time and reserving your accommodations in advance will help you.

Do you know your rights in Canada as an American? If you get familiar with your rights, some things will be easier. For example, maybe you’ll need a mortgage. You’ll already know how it works in Canada.

Minimum Wage and Average Salary in Canada

In Canada, the minimum wage varies by province or territory and ranges from $14.00 to $16.771. The average salary for a full-time worker in Canada is $59,4282.

In contrast, the federal minimum wage in the United States has been $7.25 per hour since July 2009. The average salary in the U.S. continues to increase every year and currently sits at a mean of $61,900 per year.

The minimum wage provides a base pay rate. Therefore, many workers earn more than the minimum wage, especially in skilled professions.

Cost of Living in Canada

Let’s see some of the living costs in Canada in USD.

Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant


McMeal at McDonalds 






Milk, (1 liter)


Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)


Eggs (12)

$ 3.45

Beef Round (1kg)


Banana (1kg)


One-way Ticket (local transport)


Gasoline (1 liter)


Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre


Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre


Source: Numbeo

You can also check the cost of living in the US and compare the states to evaluate both of the countries better.

Opening a Bank Account in Canada as a US Citizen

Many major Canadian banks offer newcomer services and you can open a Canadian bank account before moving there.

If you’re not a Canadian citizen, you may need your permanent residency card or immigration documents. The requirements change according to the banks.
Here are some of the top international banks that have offers for newcomers:

  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • Scotiabank
  • Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  • HSBC Canada

Canadian Citizenship for Americans

  • As an American citizen, you’ll need to be sure of meeting some requirements to have Canadian citizenship, such as:
  • Being a permanent resident
  • Having lived in Canada for at least three years in the past five years
  • Having filed your taxes
  • Having adequate knowledge of English or French
  • Having knowledge of Canada’s history, values, institutions, and symbols.

Options for Immigration and The Visa Process

Canada welcomes immigrants, workers, and students from all over the world. Whether you want to live, work, or study in Canada, you have many options to choose from. We’ll explore some of the most popular and accessible options for immigration, work, and study visas to Canada.

Some of the most common options to choose when moving to Canada from the US are:

  • Startup Visa
  • Express Entry
  • Provincial Nominee Programs

Startup Visa in Canada

If you are an American entrepreneur who wants to start a business in Canada, the startup visa program is a good match for you. Thanks to this program, you’ll be able to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident and run your business in Canada.

Here, you can see how you’ll get prepared to apply for a start-up visa in Canada:
A qualifying business: It means that you own at least 10% of the voting rights in the business.

  • A letter of support: A designated organization can provide you with this document.
  • Enough funds to settle in Canada: It depends on the size of your family and the cost of living.
  • Having adequate knowledge of English or French: You’ll prove that you can communicate and work in either official language.

After all, a clear and realistic business plan will make your job easier when applying for a startup visa in Canada. Canada startup visa processing time can take three or more than three years.

Express Entry in Canada

Express Entry is an online system. The program processes applications for three economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.
Here are the steps to apply for an Express Entry Visa:

  • Online application form
  • Language test
  • A score and a rank under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)
  • Receiving an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residency
  • 60 days to submit your online application for permanent residency

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) in Canada

The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) allow provinces and territories to select and nominate immigrants who have the skills, education, work experience, or connections that they need.

To apply through a Provincial Nominee Program, you need to follow these steps:

  • Choose a province or territory that you want to live in and explore its Provincial Nominee Program streams and categories.
  • Meet the eligibility criteria and the nomination requirements of the province or territory.
  • Submit an expression of interest or an application.
  • If the province or territory approves your application, you will receive a nomination certificate.
  • Apply for permanent residency with the federal government and pay the fees.

Family Sponsorship in Canada

Canadian citizens and permanent residents can bring their family members to live with them as permanent residents. There are some conditions, including paying some fees and submitting documents. You and your family can enjoy Canada’s benefits, such as a good life, diversity, health care, and democracy.

What are some of the requirements for a Family Sponsorship in Canada?

  • Applicants must be 18 or older.
  • Applicants must have sufficient funds.
  • Applicants must commit to taking care of their families.
  • Fees must be paid and documents must be sent.

The program is a great opportunity for Americans wanting to move to Canada with their family. At the end of the process, your family can become Canadian permanent residents.

Dual Citizenship for the USA and Canada

Have you ever wondered about the concept of dual citizenship in Canada and what it means for Americans? So, if you’re an American with an interest in Canada, let’s dive in and uncover the fascinating world of dual citizenship!

You can apply for dual citizenship in Canada by following a specific process.

  • Determine your eligibility by meeting certain criteria, such as having a Canadian parent or being married to a Canadian citizen.
  • Once eligibility is confirmed, you can submit an application to the Canadian government. You’ll probably provide the necessary documents and undergo background checks.

The Best Places to Live in Canada

Whether you are looking for a vibrant and cosmopolitan city or a peaceful and scenic town, you can find your ideal place to live in Canada.

Here are some of the best places to live in Canada for immigrants:


Toronto is a multicultural city. The cost of living is very high, making it one of the most expensive cities in Canada. There are many types of jobs available in fields like business, science, and media. You can enjoy hot weather in the summer and cold weather in the winter.

Moreover, the city is popular for its lively arts scene and sports teams. The dominant language is English.


When it comes to the cost of living, Calgary is more expensive than the rest of the country. However, the city provides job possibilities in fields such as manufacturing, science, and energy. The city has a wide range of weather, from warm summers to cold, snowy winters. Calgary is also known for the Calgary Stampede, one of the many outdoor events. English is the main language.


The cost of living is affordable in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. For many government jobs, speaking both English and French is a must. It’s cold in the winter and hot and humid in the summer in the city. People know Ottawa for its long past, cultural institutions, and fun things to do outside. A lot of people speak both English and French.


There are a lot of expensive places to live in Canada. It gives people the chance to work in sectors like technology, film, and natural resources. Vancouver has a mild climate. You can spend your time in nature, exploring outdoor activities. The main language is English.


Halifax offers a reasonable cost of living. You’ll find a diverse economy in the city, with opportunities in finance or technology. There are jobs in the city’s business in many areas, such as banking, technology, and the ocean industry. The winters in Halifax are cold when the summers are warm. You can find various cultural and outdoor activities in Halifax. English is the main language spoken.

What do Expats Think about Canada?

Many expats appreciate Canada’s beautiful natural scenery, universal healthcare, and progressive politics. They also value the country’s diverse culture, robust economy, and high standard of living. These factors make Canada a top choice for many expats, particularly those from the United States.

Canada is still generally seen as friendly. Many expats view Canada positively. They appreciate the country’s commitment to multiculturalism and its welcoming attitude.

Transportation Options for Moving to Canada from the US

There are several ways for Americans to travel to Canada, depending on your preferences and the distance from their starting point:

✈️By Plane: There are numerous direct flights from various cities in the US to major Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and others.

🚆By Train: Amtrak offers a service from New York Penn Station to Toronto Union Station. This journey offers a scenic route through the northeastern US and into Canada.

🚍By Bus: Companies like Greyhound and Megabus provide services from several US cities to Canadian destinations. This can be a cost-effective option.

🚗By Car: If you live in a state that borders Canada, driving could be the most convenient option. There are numerous entry points by land into Canada from the U.S., including the Windsor-Detroit border, Buffalo-Niagara Falls; Port Huron, Michigan; Maine; and Blaine, Washington.

🛥️By Boat or Cruise Ship: Some cruise lines offer trips from the US to Canada, particularly along the East Coast.

Remember, when crossing the border, you’ll need to provide a valid ID, such as a U.S. passport.

The Wrap-Up

Relocating to Canada from the US offers thrilling prospects and fresh encounters. Canada’s cultural diversity, natural beauty, and high standard of living make it a truly unique destination.

 Planning ahead can take you a step further. Let’s approach this with a positive attitude. Then you’ll settle into your new Canadian home quickly. Cheers to your exciting journey in the beautiful land of the Great White North!

If you’ve found this article interesting, you may also try reading about living in Canada as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

You need to determine your eligibility, which depends on factors like age, language proficiency, work experience, and education. After that, you can apply through immigration programs like Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program, or Family Class Sponsorship.

How can I move to Canada from the US without a job?

You can use the Express Entry system. It’s a popular choice. And if you’ve never worked in Canada before, there’s a program just for you. It’s called the Federal Skilled Worker program. Many immigrants use it.

How long can I stay in Canada as a visitor or a temporary resident?

You can usually stay in Canada for up to six months. However, the Border Services Officer at the point of entry determines the precise length of your stay.

How do I exchange my US driver’s license for a Canadian one?

You can exchange your US driver’s license for a Canadian one by completing an eye test, providing a valid driving license, showing proof of identity, providing proof of address, and paying a fee.

How much does it cost to live in Canada, and what are the prices of groceries, utilities, and transportation?

The cost of living in Canada varies by location. A single person’s estimated monthly costs are CAD 1,367.9 without rent. You can expect to pay around CAD 3 for a liter of milk, CAD 207 for monthly utilities for a 915 sq ft apartment, and CAD 3.27 for a one-way local transport ticket.

Is it better to go Canada or Australia?

If you can't decide between Canada or Australia, you can check the criteria below:

  • Climate: Canada has colder winters. It's ideal for snow activities. Australia has warmer weather and beaches.
  • Job Opportunities: Both countries have robust job markets. But industries may vary. You can find options in technology and natural resources in Canada. Australia can be better for mining and services.
  • Education: Both offer high-quality education. Canada mostly focuses on research and Australia on vocational training.

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