Moving to Canada
How to Move to Canada from the US

Looking to make your dream of moving to Canada a reality? Look no further! We developed a handy how-to guide to fill you in on all the little details you need to know before strapping on your winter coat and making the big move to the Great White North!

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To prove that you’re ready to become a true Canadian, we dare you to start learning O Canada —the country’s national anthem! Are you up for the challenge? 😉

Listen to our Spotify playlist
and get ready to move!

Listen to our Spotify playlist
and get ready to move!

Moving to Canada: How Much Does It Cost?

It’s no secret that moving abroad more often than not costs a pretty penny –even you’re moving to Canada, a neighboring country. So, it’s only natural that one of the first things that comes to mind when planning a move to Canada is how much it will actually cost.

Generally speaking, there are multiple factors associated with international moving costs, however the transport of your belongings and the size of your move tend to be the biggest expenses.

Sirelo Tip! Having trouble figuring out the size of your move? We got your back! Our trusty moving space calculator is super simple to use and will automatically give you the estimated size of your move in cubic feet!

Moving to Canada from the East Coast

Because you’re probably thinking that this all sounds a little vague, we compiled in the the table below the average costs of moving to Canada for a three-bedroom household from the East Coast of the United States to Canada.

DestinationSea-freightRoad Transport
Toronto, Ontario$5,400 – $7,300$2,400 – $3,300
Montreal, Québec$5,300 – $7,200$2,000 – $2,800
Vancouver, British Columbia$6,700 – $9,100$9,800 – $13,200
Calgary, Alberta$8,600 – $11,400$7,900 – $10,800

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that the rates shown above are just estimates and thus will vary depending on your actual point of departure.

Moving to Canada from the West Coast

Moving from the West Coast? Below you can find a list the average moving costs for a three-bedroom household from the West Coast of the United States to different cities in Canada.

DestinationSea-freightRoad Transport
Ottawa, Ontario$7,200 – $9,700$9,100 – $12,200
Montreal, Québec$6,800 – $9,200$9,300 – $12,600
Victoria, British Columbia$5,500 – $7,500$4,500 – $6,200
Edmonton, Alberta$7,400 – $10,100$6,000 – $8,200

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that the rates shown above are just estimates and thus will vary depending on your actual point of departure.

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How to Move to Canada: Checklist

If remembering every little detail of a move seems like an easy task for you, then you’re definitely one of the lucky ones. But just in case you want to give your memory an extra hand, we recommend that you take note of the following few points to make sure you cover everything that needs to be covered in such a big move to Canada.

Before Your Move to Canada

  • Collect all important documents: Ensure that all the paperwork you might need is in check. This doesn’t only include visas and permits, but also birth certificates, medical and dental records, and so on.
  • Select an international mover: Not sure where to start? Check out which international movers made it to our top 8!
  • Pet documents: In case you’re planning on moving to Canada with your pet, ensure that your furry friend has all the necessary documents to meet the pet entry requirements in Canada.
  • Notify others about your move: Keep in mind that there might be governmental and tax organizations you might need to notify about your move to Canada.
  • Pack: Tedious but necessary, it’s important that you go through your belongings and determine what items you’d like to move with you and pack them all up.

After Your Move to Canada

  • Health insurance: Apply to Canada’s public health insurance so you can be covered as soon as possible.
  • Bank account: Set up a Canadian bank account in case you haven’t done it online already.
  • Unpack: Try to unpack everything within the first couple of weeks of your move.

Sirelo Tip! Interested in a longer and more detailed checklist? Our moving abroad checklist is here to help. 😉

Moving to Canada: How to Move to Canada from the USA

Visas and Residencies

Besides costs, another crucial point to touch upon in this how to move to Canada guide is the visa and residency application processes. Depending on your reason for moving to Canada, you will have to apply for either a work visa, a student visa or a full permanent residency.

To make it less troublesome for you, we summarized the key points of these tedious (but important nonetheless!) processes below. Do note that you should first check if you’re eligible to apply for these permits before starting any process.

How to Move to Canada for Work

To legally work in Canada, foreign workers must have a work visa. Work visas come in two ways: open work permits and employer specific permits.

With an open work permit, you’d be allowed to work for any employer in Canada. An employer specific permit, on the other hand, only allows you to work for a particular employer. Obtaining a Canadian work visa costs around $155 CAD ($117 USD).

In Canada, work visas are issued to different types of workers –temporary workers, business people, students and care-givers. It’s important that you keep in mind that there are specific requirements for each type of worker. As well, eligibility requirements differ depending on whether you apply from inside our outside of Canada.

If you’re moving to Canada from the US as a skilled immigrant, you’ll eligible to apply for Express Entry. This is only applicable if you’re planning to become a permanent worker rather than just a temporary one.

Moving to Canada to Study

If you’re planning to attend a Canadian school, you’ll need to apply for a student visa. Obtaining a student visa costs $150CAD ($114 USD).

As a student, you’d be allowed to work on the side of studies. However, you’d need to apply for a work visa as mentioned above.

Permanent Residency

Planning on making the Great White North your forever home?  Then you’ll need to apply for a full permanent residency. There’s three main ways by which you can obtain a permanent residency:

  • Express entry: As mentioned before, you can apply to obtain a work visa if you’re qualified as a skilled immigrant. This entry would also provide you permanent residency in the country.
  • Family sponsorship: If you’re above 18 years old and currently a permanent resident of Canada, it’s possible for you to sponsor a family member.
  • Business entry: If you’re interesting in operating a business in Canada, you’re eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Business Immigration Program.

Moving to Canada: How to Move to Canada from the USA

Canadian Healthcare System

Healthcare is a very delicate subject, so it’s very important that you familiarize yourself with the country’s health care system. Equally as important is to set up a proper health insurance. If you’re a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, you’re entitle to be covered by public health insurance.

Generally, in every province, most basic medical services are covered by this insurance. However, it’s important that you check out the website of the ministry of health of the province you’ll be living in for further information about public health insurance coverage.

You might be interested in taking out private insurance if you’re interested in services which aren’t covered by the government, such as:

  • Prescription medicine;
  • Dental care;
  • Ambulance services;
  • Physiotherapy;
  • Prescription glasses.

Besides these two options, it’s also possible for you to take out an international health insurance in the United States. With such, you’ll enjoy a coverage for medical emergencies and routine healthcare work.

Financial Arrangements

Even though it goes without saying, it might be smart to open a Canadian bank account as this is the country you’ll be eventually residing in. The basic set of documents most banks tend to ask for include the following:

  • Passport;
  • Secondary form of ID (e.g.: driver’s license);
  • Immigration papers;
  • Social insurance number (SIN);
  • Temporary work, study or resident permit (if opening an account online as a Non-Canadian resident).

Briefly touching upon everyone’s favorite topic, taxes, our recommendation is that you check out the Canadian Government’s website for further information about personal taxes, business taxes and much more.

Do keep in mind that as a US citizen, your income is still subject to U.S. income tax regardless of where you reside. So it’s important that you carefully check what the tax implications are when moving abroad.

Working in Canada

As we mentioned prior, as a foreign worker you’ll need a work permit in order to legally work in Canada. In case you’re planning on moving to Canada without a specific job, you’ll need to apply for the open work permit. If this is the case, it’s usually recommended that you use one of the following means to find a job:

Employment facts about Canada important to know before moving to Canada

Costs of Living in Canada

Your living costs in Canada will vary depending on the city that you live in as well as on the amount of people in your household. Excluding rent, the average living costs for a 4-person family per month are around $3,800 CAD. Generally, the most expensive cities in Canada to live in include:

  • Vancouver, BC;
  • Toronto, ON;
  • Victoria, BC;
  • Calgary, AB;
  • Hamilton-Burlington, ON.

Moving to Canada: How to Move to Canada from the USA

Did You Know…?

  • 71% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada —surprise, surprise… Be ready to enjoy some crazy good pancakes!;
  •  Approximately 15,000 polar bears (out of the 25,000 that currently exist) live in Canada;
  • Located in Alberta, Canada actually built back in 1976 an actual landing pad specifically for UFOs —we should probably take note… just sayin’;
  • Because Canadians are so incredibly polite the Apology Act was passed in 2009, which makes apologies inadmissible in court.

We hope this article managed to give you a better understanding of everything you need to know when it comes to how to move to Canada. In case you might need some extra assistance, at Sirelo we got your back! Check out the articles we have linked below for you –they’ll be of great help!

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