How to Move to the US From Canada? A Complete Guide

Editorial Team - HomeAbroad  by HomeAbroad Editorial Team
15 min read
How to move to the USA from Canada

Thousands of Canadians are immigrating to the U.S. from Canada annually to enhance their lifestyle and escape the extreme cold. Statista Canada to U.S. immigration statistics said 49,769 Canadians emigrated to the USA in 2021-2022.

If you plan to move from the Great White North (Canada) to the Land of Opportunities (USA), gathering all the relevant information should be the first step towards the journey.

This article discusses the various aspects of moving to the USA from Canada, such as a U.S. green card, and helps you prepare for a smooth transition. Many Canadians find moving from Canada to the USA fascinating and rewarding.

Visa Options to Immigrate to the USA from Canada

Depending upon the nature of your movement, you can benefit from the many types of visas available to Canadian citizens to move to the USA. 

First, let’s glance through the various U.S. visas for Canadian citizens options that you may choose from.  

U.S. Work Visa for Canadian Citizens

There are several categories of work visas for Canadians in the U.S. are eligible to work: 

  • T.N. Visa (NAFTA Work Permit): The TN classification is available under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and permits Canadian citizens to take specific professional jobs in the U.S. You can also learn about T.N. Visa requirements and processing time through our blog. 

Get a TN Visa Mortgage.

  • H-1B Visa (Temporary Work Visa): The Canadian H-1B visa allows Canadian professionals to work temporarily in the USA, usually for up to three years. 
  • E-1/E-2 Visa USA (Treaty Trader/Business Visa): This Visa allows Canadian citizens to engage in substantial trade or investment activities in the U.S. 
  • L-1 (Intra-company Transfers): This type of Visa applies to Canadians employed by a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary company outside the U.S. who will work for that same organization in the U.S. 
  • O-1 Visa (Extraordinary Skills Visa): This Visa allows foreign nationals of exceptional talent in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. 

Student Visas USA for Canadian

  • F-1 Visa: This is for foreign nationals who wish to attend an academic or English Language Program at a U.S. college or university. 
  • M-1: Visas allow Canadian citizens to pursue vocational studies such as cooking and auto mechanic classes. These are some of the most popular visas Canadian citizens can apply for to migrate to the U.S. 

Family-Based Immigration U.S. Visa for Canadians

This type of Visa allows Canadian citizens to move and join their family members in the U.S. Here are some of the most popular family sponsorship immigration visas: 

  • Marriage Visas: Canadian citizens who wish to move to the U.S. and marry an American resident can apply for a K-1 Visa (also known as a “fiance visa”). 
  • Immediate Relative Visas: This category is for Canadian citizens who wish to move and join close family members in the U.S. These include the IR-1 (spouse of a U.S. citizen) visa, IR-2 (parent or child of a U.S. citizen) and the IR-3 (orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen). 
  • Family Preference Visas: Family preference visas also allow Canadians to join family members who already live in the U.S. These include the F-2A ( to be applied by spouses and children of legal permanent residents of the U.S.), F-3 (sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are married), and F-4 (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens). 

Immigration Based on Investment

  • EB-5 Visa: The EB-5 visa is an excellent option for Canadian citizens with sufficient funds and looking for an opportunity to invest in the USA.

Diversity Visa Lottery

The U.S. Diversity Visa (DV) lottery program is an excellent opportunity for Canadian citizens to immigrate to the U.S. The DV lottery allows 50,000 people from certain foreign countries to become permanent citizens of the United States each year. 

  • To be eligible for the DV Lottery, you must be a citizen of an eligible country, meet the education or work requirements, and pass an interview with a U.S. consular officer.
  • The State Department publishes a list of qualified countries each year.
  • Successful applicants receive a permanent resident (green) card, letting them live and work permanently in the U.S.

These are some of the most famous types of us visas for Canadian citizens available wishing to move to the USA from Canada. Depending on your situation and purpose, you can pick the program that nicely fits your needs. 

Immigration laws and policies in Canada and the U.S. constantly change, so staying informed about the latest updates is essential. Additionally, acquiring expert advice from a U.S. immigration lawyer is always beneficial to ensure a smooth transition to the U.S. 

Nevertheless, one requirement that remains unchanged despite various updates is the need for supporting documents. Irrespective of the type of Visa you apply for, they all need relevant documents for appropriate immigration approval. 

Get a Mortgage as a Canadian with No US Credit.

Documents Required to Move from Canada to the USA

Having the following document in place will ensure that the transition from Canada to the USA moves swiftly and smoothly.

  • Valid passport: Make sure your Canada passport is valid for at least six months after the proposed date of entry into the USA.
  • Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant travel document: If you enter the USA by land or sea, you will need this document.
  • Birth Certificate: This is required to prove your age and identity and establish any family relationships you may have with other applicants traveling with you. 
  • Medical Examination: All visa applicants must submit to a medical examination by an approved physician.
  • Photographs: The U.S. Embassy requires two recent passport-style shots with each visa application. 
  • Financial Evidence: You must provide evidence of financial stability, including statements from banks and other financial institutions, tax returns, pay stubs, etc., to demonstrate that you are not likely to become a public charge in the U.S.
  • Marriage Certificate: If you are applying under marriage-based visas, you must prove your marriage is genuine and legal by submitting a valid and certified marriage certificate.
  • Police Clearance Certificate: You must get this document from each country you have lived in for over 12 months.
  • Additional Documents: Depending on the visa category, you may need to provide additional documents such as proof of educational or work qualifications and/or an affidavit of support from a sponsor.
  • EAD: If you are applying for employment-based visas, you must provide evidence of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The U.S. Embassy will review these documents to assess your eligibility to immigrate from Canada to the USA. Therefore, all documentation must be accurate and complete, as mistakes and omissions can delay the processing of your application.

When Canadian citizens move to the USA to seek permanent residence, they must apply for a green card for Canadian citizens as soon as possible. A green card will not only secure their status as a permanent resident. Still, it will also give them access to various perks and entitlements accessible only to permanent resident green card holders.

Get a home loan with no US credit.

Moving to the U.S. from Canada Checklist

Following this checklist ensures a smooth and successful transition from Canada to the USA. 

Moving to the U.S. from Canada Checklist

Create a US-based bank account
Secure a Social Security Number
Look into healthcare options
Please familiarize yourself with U.S. tax laws
Find suitable accommodation
Transfer your driver’s license
Register your vehicle
Research job opportunities in your area
Learn more about U.S. culture and customs
  • Create a US-based bank account: It is crucial to have a US-based bank account to handle your financial transactions and taxes and receive employer payments.
  • Secure a Social Security Number: A Social Security Number (SSN) is necessary for work authorization, filing taxes, and other purposes.
  • Look into healthcare options: It is important to research available healthcare options in the USA and to consider purchasing private health insurance.
  • Familiarize yourself with U.S. tax laws: Taxation laws vary from state to state, so you must familiarize yourself with the relevant policies for your new location.
  • Find suitable accommodation: Finding a proper place to live is one of the most essential relocation steps. Researching the local housing market, understanding local tenancy laws, and working with a real estate agent can help make the process easier. HomeAbroad can help you connect with the most experienced real estate agents, CIPS, who understand the market, international laws, and the requirements and needs of Foreign citizens like yourself.

Find the best real estate agent with international expertise

Connect with a local US real estate agent(s) with CIPS designation

  • Transfer your driver’s license: You may need to transfer your Canadian driver’s license before legally driving in the USA. 
  • Register your vehicle: Depending on the state, you may be required to register your Canadian-registered vehicle with the local Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Research job opportunities in your area: Researching job opportunities before relocating can help you find suitable employment quickly.
  • Learn more about U.S. culture and customs: Understanding cultural differences is essential when moving from one country to another. Researching the culture and traditions of your new location can help ensure a smoother transition.

Relocating from Canada to the United States is a big step, but it can be a successful and rewarding experience with the proper preparation and resources. Following this checklist will ensure that your transition is smooth and stress-free Canadian immigration to us. 

HomeAbroad can help you connect with the most experienced real estate agents, CIPS, who understand the market, international laws, and the requirements and needs of Foreign citizens like yourself. They have certified real estate agents trained in dealing with international real estate. You can contact HomeAbroad to get in touch with the best CIPS agents.

Find the best real estate agent with international expertise

Connect with a local US real estate agent(s) with CIPS designation

Short-Term Relocation from Canada to the USA

When considering short-term relocation from Canada to the USA, it is essential to understand that you must obtain a valid temporary visa. Depending on your situation, the type of Visa you require can vary. 

The most common types are the T.N. (Trade NAFTA) Visa, H-1B Visa, B1 (visitor visa), B-2 Visa issued for medical treatment, and E-2 Investor Visa. Therefore, it is vital to research the requirements for each visa option and determine which one best suits your needs.

How to Immigrate to the USA from Canada?

How to move to the U.S. from Canada? It is the question that must be on your mind right now. Well, you’ll need proper planning and research to smooth your transition. Here is a step-by-step process to move to the U.S. from Canada. 

Step 1: Research and Learn about U.S. Immigration Laws

The first step of the process is to research and familiarize yourself with the United States immigration laws. Knowing your rights, responsibilities, and restrictions is essential to ensure a smooth transition into the country. 

Step 2: Get all Required Documents

Once you understand the relevant visa requirements, you must collect the necessary documents to apply for them. These include your identity proof, passport details, employment records, and other relevant information.

Step 3: Apply for a Visa

The next step is to apply for a visa that suits your needs. The online application process is simple, but you must ensure all details are accurate. Depending on the sort of Visa, the processing time can vary. 

Step 4: Arrange for Accommodation

Once your visa application is approved, you must start looking for accommodation in the U.S. You may need to research local housing options or contact a real estate agent for help finding suitable accommodation. 

CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) agents at HomeAbroad can help you find the most suitable house for your requirements and needs. Reach out to Homeabroad to connect with the best CIPS agents.

Find the best real estate agent with international expertise

Connect with a local US real estate agent(s) with CIPS designation

Read More: The ultimate guide for a Canadian buying house in USA 

Step 5: Prepare for Customs Process

Before arriving in the U.S., you must prepare for the customs process. It includes gathering all necessary documents and information to ensure a smooth transition. In addition, make sure that you understand any relevant rules and regulations before attempting to cross the border. 

Step 6: Arrive in the USA

After preparing for the customs process, you can arrive in the U.S. Once you have crossed the border, you must ensure that your documents are up-to-date and valid. 

Step 7: Finalize Your Move

Once you have arrived in the U.S. and prepared for customs clearance, you can begin settling into your new home. It includes sorting out any remaining paperwork, registering for healthcare, and finding employment. 

Following this procedure can ensure a stress-free transition to moving to the USA from Canada. 

If you are still unsure about U.S. immigration from Canada, becoming a snowbird can be a great way to test the waters. Exploring the U.S. lifestyle before committing to a full-time move is also exciting.

How to Apply for a Green Card as a Canadian?

The approach to applying for a Canadian green card is pretty straightforward, and all you need to do is submit the necessary forms, documents, and fees to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

  • Step 1: First, you must determine your eligibility for one of the various immigrant visa categories, such as Family-Based Visas (F-1, F-2, and F-3) or Employment-Based Visas (E-1, E-2, and E-3)
  • Step 2: Once you have determined your eligibility criteria, complete the appropriate forms and submit them to Immigration Services and U.S. Citizenship. You must also give the supporting documents such as a valid passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), financial records, medical examination results, and any other documents requested by the U.S. Embassy. 
  • Step 3: Once all your documentation is submitted and you get approval, you will be issued a permanent resident green card USA. 

Once you have obtained your green card, you have moved from Canadian citizenship to U.S. green card. You are legally a permanent resident of the USA and can enjoy the same rights and benefits as other U.S. citizens. 

How can a Canadian get a green card?

Canadian citizens can only apply for U.S. citizenship if born abroad to U.S. citizen parents. Instead, Canadians usually must be permanent residents (green card holders) and reside in the United States for a certain period before they are eligible to naturalize based on,

  • Marriage to a U.S. citizen.
  • Green Card through a family member.
  • Green card through employment (U.S. work visa for Canadians).

After a successful neutralization, you can enjoy all the rights and privileges of a U.S. citizen. As a U.S. citizen, you can vote in elections, travel freely within the USA and abroad, access social security benefits, apply for federal jobs, and much more.

Canada Vs US: Is it Worth Moving to the USA from Canada?

Yes, absolutely! If you want a better salary, more job opportunities, several tax benefits, affordable housing, and a vibrant lifestyle, immigrating to the USA from Canada is worth it.

USA Vs Canada Salary

Canada: The average monthly wage in Canada is $32,420 per year or $16.85 per hour in USD. Payment for entry-level positions begins from $25,917 per year. Most experienced workers make up to $102,347 per year.

USA: However, in the USA, entry-level positions start at $55,640 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $104,963 per year. The national average U.S. income in 2021 was $97,962. The median U.S. income in 2021 was $69,717.

Canada or USA: Which is Better for Jobs?

The job opportunities in the USA are broader than those available in Canada. Compared to Canada’s unemployment rate of 5.83% in a population of 3.82 million, the unemployment rate of the USA is 3.6% in a crowd of 33.19 million.

Furthermore, the job market in the USA attracts candidates from all over the world due to its highly competitive business environment and strong economy.

Get a mortgage with no US credit.

Canada Vs U.S. Income Tax

The USA has lower income tax rates and much better tax deductions than Canada. Also, suppose you’re eligible for certain credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

In that case, you can reduce your federal tax liability or even receive a refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Tax Benefits

Moving to the U.S. from Canada can provide lucrative tax benefits as well. In the U.S., individual income taxes are progressive, meaning they increase with income.

U.S. Tax rate Vs. Canada: U.S. federal income tax brackets span from 10% to 37%, while tax rates are between 15% and 33% in Canada. Affluent Americans can access many tax deductions that Canada’s Alternative Minimum Tax does not allow.

Canada Province TaxUSA State Tax
Alberta – 10-15 %California – 1% to 13.3%
British Columbia – 5.06- 16.8%Minnesota – 5.35% to 9.85%
Manitoba – 10.8%- 17.4%New York – 4% to 8.82%
Northwest Territories – 5.9%- 14.05%Kansas – 3.10% to 5.7%
Newfoundland and Labrador – 8.7%- 18.3 %Iowa – 0.33% to 8.53%
New Brunswick – 9.68%- 20.3%Virginia – 2% to 5.75%
Nova Scotia – 8.79%- 21%Georgia – 1% to 5.75%
Ontario – 5.05%- 13.16%Illinois – 4.95%
Prince Edward Island – 9.8%- 16.7 %Arizona – 2.59% to 4.54%
Quebec – 15%-25.75%Indiana – 3.23%
Saskatchewan – 10.5%- 14.5 %Wisconsin -7.65%
Yukon – 6.4%- 15%Hawaii – 11%

Cost of Living Canada Vs USA

The cost of living is 4.5% higher in America than in Canada, but so is the average national income and the Purchasing Power Parity.

According to a survey by Statista on various countries’ GDP per capita Purchasing Power Parity in 2021, the USA ranked #9th while Canada stood at #24th. This rank proves that a higher cost of living is synonymous with a better lifestyle, amenities, and income.

Cost Parameters Canada (CAD) US (USD)
Rent (Monthly)$ 839.64 $ 833.32
Public Transportation(Monthly)$ 139.73$ 107.85
Groceries (Monthly)$ 114.95$ 91.07 
Restaurant (Meal for 1)$ 17 $15
Apparel and Accessories$ 64.22- $ 126.69 $ 44.04 to $ 96.17 

Education: USA Vs Canada for International Students

The U.S. is renowned for its quality education, notably higher secondary and post-secondary. Also, the level of teaching and the curriculum for elementary and secondary education are all excellent in the U.S. 

The USA is home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities, like Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, which draw students from around the globe for quality education. As a result, moving to the U.S. may benefit those pursuing higher education or gaining more qualifications in various fields.

Affordable Housing: Living in USA Vs Canada

The housing market in the U.S. is very diverse, offering a range of housing options at different price points. The U.S. provides various houses for rent or purchase, and many cities offer affordable housing to qualified buyers. 

The average national price of homes in Canada as of February 2023 was CAD 464,130 (In USD), whereas, in the USA, it was to be USD 348,853.

Helpful Read: 10 Best Places To Buy House in the US, 2023!

Canada Vs U.S. Quality of Life

The quality of life in the USA is one of the highest among developed countries. The country has many amenities and facilities, with excellent health care and crime protection systems. 

The USA also offers its citizens a variety of recreational sports such as skiing, hiking, fishing, camping, and more. And when it comes to sports events or entertainment activities like concerts, the USA is unparalleled. 

Canada Vs USA: Healthcare and Health Insurance

Health insurance costs in the U.S. are significantly lower than in Canada, and coverage options are more comprehensive. The USA offers its citizens public health insurance plans, such as Medicaid or Medicare, that provide medical services at a reduced cost for those who qualify. 

You can learn more about the healthcare system in our guide for health insurance for foreigners in the USA.

Real Estate Appreciation

Real estate appreciation is a measure of how the value of an asset has increased over time. The U.S. real estate market is considered one of the most attractive on the global stage, with solid growth prospects and high returns on investment.

U.S. Real estate appreciates faster than many other countries due to its expansive population, diverse economy, and well-developed infrastructure. As a result, U.S. real estate remains an attractive option for those looking for long-term returns on their investments. 

The above parameters indicate that moving to the USA from Canada is worth the effort. Moving into the land of opportunities will give you access to a better quality of life and bright prospects. 

Now that we know that moving to the USA is beneficial in all regards let’s understand the immigration options that the U.S. provides to Canadians and start preparing for the move.

Buy your US home with no US credit mortgage.

Conclusion

Moving to the U.S. from Canada is a significant and exciting opportunity involving much preparation and paperwork. However, by following the correct procedures and providing all the required documents, you can successfully migrate from Canada to the USA and start a new chapter in your life. 

Whether you are looking for a primary residence or secondary investment home, contact HomeAbroad, and let us help you buy the best houses. We can connect you with highly experienced CIPS agents who can simplify the process.

Moreover, we also have a network of mortgage lenders who can finance your property even if you don’t have a US credit history.

Find the best real estate agent and mortgage lender with international expertise.

Connect with a local international real estate agent and mortgage lender

Frequently Asked Question

Q1. Can a Canadian move to the USA?

A. Yes, Canadians can move to the United States. However, they must obtain a valid visa or green card to be eligible for permanent residency and citizenship.

Q2. How to move from Canada to the USA without a job?

A. Moving from Canada to the USA without a job is possible. However, it is good that you have enough savings to support yourself for at least six months.

You will also need to obtain a proper visa. You may consider a family sponsorship visa, student visa, or T.N. visa.

Q3. Does the U.S. allow dual citizenship with Canada?

A. Dual citizenship (or dual nationality) implies a person may simultaneously be a citizen of the United States and another country. U.S. law does not need a person to choose between one citizenship over another.

Q4. Can Canadians move freely to the USA?

A. Typically, Canadians do not require a visa to enter the United States. However, if they are relocating from Canada to the USA, they must follow the immigration procedure like people from any other nationality.

Q5. Is it easy for a Canadian to become a U.S. citizen?

A. You can apply for U.S. citizenship if born abroad to U.S. citizen parents. To become a U.S. citizen as a Canadian, you must be a permanent resident (green card holder) and reside there for a certain period before you are eligible to be naturalized.
 
To qualify for naturalization, you must be at least 18 years old. You should have resided in the U.S. as a green card owner for five years (or three years if you are married to a U.S. national) and meet all other eligibility requirements.

Q6. How much money do you need to move to the USA?

A. Considering the visa interview fees, medical exam fees, green card application fees, labor certification costs, and other specific expenses, you should be ready to shell out anything between $4,000 to $11,300 for moving to the USA.

Q7. Can I live USA if I have Canadian PR? 

A. you can live in the USA with Canadian permanent residence status. You must apply for a valid visa or green card that suits your requirements and apply for permanent residence accordingly.

The U.S. also offers a T.N. visa which allows Canadian citizens to work in the USA with certain restrictions.

Q8. Is it easy for Canadian citizens to move to the USA? 

A. It is relatively easy for Canadian citizens to move to the USA. They must obtain a valid visa or green card that suits their situation and apply for permanent residence accordingly.

Q9. Can a Canadian citizen get a U.S. green card? 

A. Yes, Canadian citizens can get a U.S. green card. However, they must meet specific eligibility requirements and apply for a permanent residency visa like any other foreign national.

Q10. What Visa should I apply for to move to the USA from Canada?

A. The sort of Visa you should go for depends on the purpose of your travel to the United States, such as work, study, or tourism. Common visa types include F-1 Student Visa, H-1B Work Visa, TN Professional Visa, and B-2 Tourist Visa. 

Q11. What documents must I provide when applying for a U.S. visa from Canada?

A. You must submit several documents with your application, such as proof of identity (passport or national I.D. card), proof of financial support, and evidence that you intend to return to Canada after your stay in the U.S. 

Q12. How long can I stay in the USA with a Canadian visa?

A. The time you can stay in the U.S. on a Canadian visa depends on your visa type. For example, an F-1 student visa allows up to 4 years, while a B-2 tourist visa only permits up to 6 months. 

Q13. Can a Canadian marry an American and get dual citizenship?

A. Yes, a Canadian can marry an American and gain dual citizenship. However, they must meet all the eligibility requirements for U.S. citizenship, such as being a permanent resident and residing in the U.S. for at least five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen).
 
After meeting these conditions, they can apply for naturalization and become a U.S. citizen.

Q14. Do I lose my Canadian citizenship if I become an American? 

A. No, you do not lose your Canadian citizenship when you become an American citizen. You will have dual nationality or citizenship, allowing you to enjoy both countries’ rights and privileges.

However, it is essential to remember that your rights and obligations will differ in each country depending on the laws of each nation.

Editorial Team - HomeAbroad
About the authors:
The Editorial Team at HomeAbroad is comprised of subject matter experts who are real estate professionals, mortgage advisors, content experts and research associates.
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