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Moving to Canada

According to recent data, Canada welcomed over 470,000 new permanent residents in 2023, with that number projected to increase in 2024 and beyond. As a stunning country with great job opportunities, affordable housing and a thriving economy, it’s no wonder so many consider moving to Canada!

Whether you’re emigrating to Canada for work, culture, loved ones or the incredible scenery, a little preparation will go a long way. This guide provides helpful information for anyone planning onmoving to Canada from the US.

Steps to Start Your Move to Canada

While Canada is considered one of the most immigrant-friendly countries in the world, moving there from the USA involves more than just crossing the border.This section features a helpful breakdown of the factors to consider as you research how to move to Canada. This information will help you avoid delays, unexpected costs and other disruptions during your relocation.

Employment and Job Search

Moving to Canada is somewhat simpler if you already have a job there. If the position is covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement, your work permit will be issued when you cross the border. If it is not covered under NAFTA, your US passport entitles you to stay in Canada for up to 180 days without applying for a visa. 

Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration website outlines several channels to permanent residency, such as skilled work, self-employment, startup ventures and investing.

The Express Entry initiative allows skilled workers to compete for residency. The program evaluates applicants’ level of education, work experience and income, with the highest-ranking individuals invited to apply for expedited residency.

Visit to learn more about your options.

Apply for Residence and Required Documents

Before you move to Canada from the US, you’ll need to make copies of the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Tax returns from the last 4 years
  • Proof of reasonable fluency in English 
  • Additional financial documents

You may also be required to speak at least conversational French if you’re moving to Quebec.

While you wait to hear from immigration services, consider practical matters such as moving your belongings, managing the transition of your income taxes and finding out how to register vehicles and get a driver’s license. You will not have access to Canadian Medicare until you are granted permanent residence, so be sure that you have coverage in the meantime.

Choose a Professional Moving Company

Figuring out how to move to Canada by yourself can be challenging. With a reputable moving company on your side, you can seamlessly clear customs and ensure your belongings make it across the border safely. 

International movers will also help pack, load and unpack your belongings at your new home. With the basics of moving covered, you have more time to gather the documents for permanent residency and plan for your international transition. 

Land, Environment and Culture

Canada has something for everyone. It’s famous for its majestic mountains, pristine forests and crystal-clear lakes. The four seasons are distinctly lovely, and Canadians make the most of the warm months with a variety of outdoor activities and festivals. 

Art, music, dance, literature and architecture have flourished throughout Canada’s long, colorful history. As for cuisine, Canada’s is as diverse as its population. Most foods are completely familiar to Americans, but others offer unique, localized experiences. These are the foods that homesick Canadians miss when they travel!

Economy and Cost of Living in Canada

Canada has the 10th-largest nominal economy in the world, and there are plenty of opportunities on the job front. Cutting-edge technology and engineering companies are attracting top global talent. Canada is also a world leader in entertainment software. Service industries, logging, oil production, fishing and automobile and aircraft manufacturing are also thriving.

Canada is far less expensive than the United States for college and health care. Its social benefits, such as generous paid maternity leave, are impressive. However, housing and most day-to-day expenses, such as groceries, eating out, gasoline and clothing, are slightly more expensive in Canada. In short, major life expenses are more affordable in Canada, but everyday living might cost a little more.

Universal Healthcare

One of the biggest appeals of moving to Canada from the USA is the universal health care system. Canadian health care is very different from that in the US, so do your research to make the best decision for your family. For instance, there is a common misconception that health care in Canada is free. While it is largely free at the point of use, universal care is publicly funded through taxpayer dollars. 

In addition, the Canada Health Act does not provide for prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, or long-term care. These expenses must be paid out-of-pocket or covered by private insurers. 

Crime Rate and Safety Points

Canada’s crime rates are admirably low, particularly for violent crimes. Studies suggest that homicide rates are three times higher in the United States than in Canada. Gun violence, robbery and petty crime are also significantly lower in Canada compared to the US.

Given the relatively low crime rate, Canada is considered one of the safest countries in the world. It has a well-thought-out crime prevention system and an effective criminal justice system—crucial factors for many immigrants, especially those who hope to start a family. As of 2024, according to crime rates, the safest cities in Canada are Sherbrooke, Ottawa-Gatineau and Montreal.

Cost of Moving to Canada

The cost of moving to Canada can vary. In addition to your moving expenses, you’ll need to budget for immigration fees, especially if you’re moving with a spouse or kids. If you plan to move to Canada using the Express Entry program, you can expect to pay $2,300 to $4,500 CAD. Depending on where you're moving in Canada, you may also need to consider provincial immigration fees. 

Of course, every international relocation starts with finding the right moving company. We recommend starting your research 3 to 6 months before moving from the US to Canada. You'll want to gather quotes from several international moving companies and compare their moving services to find a professional mover that fits your needs and budget.