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How To Move To The US From Canada

There are different ways to prepare for immigration to the United States and obtain residency status. If you are Canadian or live there, and willing to relocate, this article features how to move to the US from Canada.

Choosing which path to follow is not always easy. Yet, moving to the U.S. from Canada isn’t rocket science.

In order to determine the best way to ensure immigration to the U.S from Canada, it is key to define your priorities and objectives. A consultant can help with this. 

Work Visa Options To Move To The U.S. From Canada 

Canadians don’t need a visa to visit the U.S. They do however, need a work visa to work if they consider relocating to the U.S from Canada. These are visa options for Canadians moving to the U.S;

H-1B Visa for Specialty Occupations

The H-1B Visa allows foreigners to stay temporarily in the US in a work capacity. To obtain the H-1B Visa, Canadians  moving to the U.S must be specialist professionals with a minimum of U.S.  Bachelor’s degree (or a foreign equivalent). 

Other requirements include;

  • Secured a job in the US prior to his or her visa application. The employer will help in the visa application.
  • The position applied for must be classified as a specialty occupation; and
  • Be paid the minimum wage for that occupation in the geographic area in which the job is secured.

The U.S. immigration process is detailed, listing Canadians specialist occupations including lawyers, doctors, software engineers and architects.

TN Visa for Professionals

Now called the CUSMA, this work visa is issued to foreigners under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). 

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This means to apply you must be citizens of Canada or Mexico. But not all Canadians and Mexicans are eligible. 

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Only those of “eligible professions” can and will gain temporary entry into the United States. They must be engaging in business activities at a professional level and under the TN nonimmigrant classification. They are also called NAFTA professionals.

Requirements for securing a TN visa: 

  • Must be Canadian or Mexican 
  • Must be fully employed or have a part time job. Self employment is not permitted. 
  • Must have relevant certifications and work experiences..

L-1 Visa for Intracompany Transfers 

If you have been employed abroad in an executive, managerial or specialized role for a minimum of a year within the past three years, you might qualify to apply for transfer to the US under a L visa. 

This visa allows professionals to transfer from Canada to US across companies. 

Requirements for securing L 1 Visa

  • Must fill the same or similar role in the US as with the foreign job 
  • Must be an high level professional or executive 

Family Visa Options

Of course, you can relocate with your family. But there are some basic requirements for moving to the U.S. from Canada if you want to include family members. 

Some of options you can take include: 

K-1 Fiancé Visa 

If you are engaged to a US citizen, then the K-1 fiancé(e) visa is appropriate for you.This visa enables the foreign fiancé of a U.S. citizen to relocate to the U.S. and get married within 3 months. 

The U.S. citizen is allowed to sponsor their foreign partner and each partner must prove they will get marry within a 90 day duration after their fiancé lands in the U.S. 

Marriage-Based Green Cards

A marriage-based green card allows the spouse of a US citizen to live and work legally in the States. 

The green card allows them to work for 3 years, if they wish, they can apply for US Citizenship. 

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Bringing Children to the US

Your children can apply if they want to come with you. Note a child is defined as an unmarried boy or girl 21 years old and below.

Once your application is filled, the child can live and go to school in the U.S. while  it is reviewed.

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Permanent Residency Options

There are many ways to secure permanent residency in the US. Some of which include: 

  • An employer-sponsored application if you secure a full time job. 
  • A self-sponsored employment-based permanent residency application. 
  • Marriage to a U.S. citizen
  • Sponsorship by a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident who is a close relative
  • The Visa lottery program.

While each application process leads to the same thing; securing the green card, note that application procedures and costs differ. mployment-Based Green Card

There are many subcategories of workers that can apply for a permanent resident card. Below is a table showing categories of workers that can fill for this kind of visa.

 

Category  Workers included 
Priority Workers  Athletes, Professors, Educators, Artists, Business owners, Executives
Professionals with Excetional Abilities  Master’s degree holders positions, Bachelor’s degree, with experience.

Science arts and business requiring special ability, Positions of national interest

Physicians with Special Conditions Physicians who agree to work in unfavorable places for a period
Skilled and Unskilled Workers, Professionals Skilled workers that require 2 years experience, unskilled workers with 2 years experience. Professionals must have a bachelor’s degree
Special Workers  Media workers, Religious workers, Afghans and Iraqis who have worked for the U.S. government, Retirees and their family members
Investors Foreigners who invested (or are willing to invest) at least $1 million in a new U.S. business that will create jobs for at least 10 people. 

Family-Based Green Card

Relatives of U.S. citizens can apply for the family-based green cards.

Spouses, children, parents, and siblings of people who have a green card can also apply.

This category includes widows and widowers who were married to a U.S. citizen before they died. 

Spouses of these citizens and current green card holders must prove that their marriage is real. 

Extended family members (uncles and aunts, grandparents and nephews) are not eligible.

Application Process

Since there are different kinds of Visas, the application process varies a bit. However, there are generally process you will take to complete a U.S. visa application if you are a Canadian citizen or resident:  

  1. Identify which visa you want to apply for. 
  2. Fill the appropriate online form, including the DS-160 or DS-260 form.
  3. Pay your visa fee. It varies from visa to visa.
  4. Book an interview at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. 
  5. Attend your visa interview.
  6. Wait for feedback. This typically is within 3-5 working days. 

Gathering Required Documents

Although, the type of visa determines which documents are required specifically, these are the general documents needed.

  1. A confirmation page showing your appointment.
  2. A Confirmation page showing you have filled the DS-160 form. You will receive a confirmation mail. 
  3. Two identical US visa photos. 5 x 5 cm size, colour and taken within the last 6 months. 
  4. Valid Passport.
  5. Previous US visas (if applicable). If you’ve been in the US before you must show proof. 
  6. ACRO. This is the police certificate you obtained from the authorities in Canada determining if you’ve ever been arrested or convicted. 
  7. Doctors report or examination.

Filing with USCIS or Embassy

You can pay for the USCIS Immigrant fee online or in the embassy.This fee is used to process your green card.

Processing Times and Fees

How long does it take to process US visas? It depends on the type of visa. Averagely it takes about 3 to 5 weeks. 

Visas prices also depend on the kind of visa being applied for. 

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The visa can be classified to non petition (meaning you won’t need a sponsor living in US to petition your case) and petition.

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Most visa costs from $180 to $300 dollars price range. In conclusion, the cost of moving to the U.S from Canada is about $4000 to $7500 on average. 

Since every relocation is unique there is no one definite answer to this. Your relocation  might cost more or less than this price range. 

Tips for Relocation

Relocation from a place to another within a country is hard enough, how hard then will switching countries? Here are some tips for moving to the U.S. from Canada. 

  • Declutter your life before you relocate
  • Pay lingering bills
  • Use sales tax differences to your advantage
  • Keep an healthy credit score
  • Get health coverage
  • Have a back up plan
  • Buy only the items you need right now for your new home
  • Try to get a job before moving 

Finding Jobs in the US

Finding a job in the U.S. as a Canadian can be easy or challenging. 

It is affected by several factors some of which include the skill level of the applicant and the industry he is applying to. 

It’s best to secure a job before relocation. If that is not possible however, you can go on job sites and hunt. 

Housing Options

Ann Arbor in Michigan is one of the best places Canadian expats in the U.S love to live. 

Another place is San Diego and some, due to the warm weather prefer Miami, Florida. 

In all these places, there are several housing options in the U.S for Canadians. 

The cost of housing in U.S can be higher than Canada so expats have to choose a place that suits their style and finances. 

As a Canadian, you can buy a house in the USA with no restrictions from US government. 

You can check out single-family homes, townhouses, or condos.

Banking and Finances

As an exact comparison, the cost of living U.S. vs Canada is a wise move. The Cost of living in United States is 8.4% higher than in Canada. 

Rent Prices in United States are 25.0% higher than in Canada and restaurants cost 8.5% more in U.S than in Canada.

Groceries prices in United States are 5.3% more costly than in Canada.

Remember you can’t spend Canadian dollars so you will need to open a US bank account. 

Subscribing to travel insurance helps. There are several travel insurance policies for Canadians moving to the U.S.

Getting Settled in Your New Home

When you have secured a house, next is to move.You need to ship your belongings when you arrive and settle. 

Shipping belongings to the U.S from Canada can be handled by moving agencies.

Healthcare in the U.S for Canadian immigrants is top notch. 

Don’t worry about the kids going to school. The education system in the U.S for Canadian families is superb. 

Driving in the U.S. with a Canadian licence is also permitted. However, if you want to get a licence, that is easy.

Conclusion

Moving to the U.S. from Canada can be challenging. Fortunately, these tips about how to move to the US from Canada can make it easier for Canadian expats trying to move South. 

When coming to the U.S. for work, it’s better to have secured a US job. You need to choose the appropriate visa category, having relevant documents and applying for the visa.

Also equally important is understanding that the cost of living in the US is higher than Canada’s and getting familiar with the new culture and staying connected with friends and family.

To ensure your Canada to US immigration application goes hitch free, it’s important to secure the services of a consultant. Book a free consultation with us today. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need A Visa To Visit The U.S?

No. As a Canadian you don’t need a visa to visit U.S. You, however need one if you intend to work.

Can I work remotely for a Canadian company? 

Of course. If you secured a remote job, you need no visa to do such jobs. 

What are the requirements for each visa?

Each visa is different. All the requirements of those different visas can be found on the U.S immigration website

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