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Moving From Canada to the US: Tips for a Successful Move

Moving From Canada to the US

Canadians have several advantages over other nationals when it comes to moving to the US. As a result, people are constantly moving from Canada to US to work and settle.

However, moving to a different country can be challenging, even when it involves moving between nearby countries, like moving to the US from Canada.

So, how can people who move from Canada to USA transition to life in the land of the stars and stripes? This article will answer this question. Read on for the tips for successfully relocating to the US from Canada and settling there.

The essential tips for a successful “Canada to USA” relocation are:

1. Preparing for the Move

Make no mistake, planning for a relocation to the US from Canada starts way before the move. While still in Canada, the individual should acquire relevant qualifications and keep their passport up-to-date.

Get qualified for a US job

relocation to the US from Canada

Relocating to the US from Canada starts with determining the appropriate visa and preparing to qualify for it.

True, Canadians do not need a visa to enter the US. But, long-term stays (of over six months) and working in the country require a visa. However, US work visas generally require having a US job offer. So, when planning to relocate from Canada to the US, the first thing to do is to get qualified for a US job.

That is, if a specific US job requires a professional certification, the individual should acquire the certificate. After acquiring the necessary qualifications, the individual should apply for the US job and secure an offer.

Ensure your passport is up-to-date

Canadians entering the US

Canadians entering the US are required to have a passport valid until the date of their departure. So, anyone moving to US from Canada should ensure their passport is up-to-date.

2. Immigration and Visa Procedures

Get familiar with the different visa options

The US has several work visa options for Canadians. The common work visas for Canadians moving to the US are:

  • TN visa. A visa for Canadians and Mexicans who work in certain professional jobs under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
  • H-1B. A visa for people coming to the US to work in jobs requiring specialized knowledge. 
  • L-1. A visa for foreign workers whose company in Canada is transferring to work in a US branch.
  • O-1. A visa for individuals who possess extraordinary ability or achievement in education, sciences, arts, business, or athletics. 
  • E-1 and E-2. A visa for individuals coming to the US for substantial trade (E-1) or to direct the operations of an investment (E-2).

After learning how to move to USA from Canada (the different visa options for Canadian citizens), the individual should determine an appropriate US work visa for relocating.

Know that the TN Visa is one of the most popular for moving to USA from Canada for work. This is because it is easier and faster to obtain than the other U.S. immigration visa options.

Check Eligibility

After choosing a visa category, the individual should check that they meet the eligibility criteria of the visa.

For example, the TN Visa checklist is as follows:

  • Proof of Canadian citizenship.
  • Employment letter from a US employer for a job on the NAFTA list of approved professions.
  • Proof of educational and professional qualifications.
  • Proof that the US job is temporary.

Given these requirements for the visa application, when relocating using the TN visa, the individual should check that the prospective US job qualifies as a NAFTA occupation and that they have the educational and professional qualifications specified for the job category under the TN Visa rules. 

Gather all the necessary documents and apply for the visa

After confirming eligibility, the individual should gather all the necessary documents required for the visa application.

Typical US work visas require submitting an application. The individual should proceed to complete the online application and pay the visa application fee. Candidates may go for biometric capturing, after which they’ll be invited for a visa interview. Then, they wait to get a decision on their visa application. 

Thankfully, the TN visa offers the convenience of applying for the visa by simply presenting your documents to a US immigration Officer at the Port of Entry when entering the US. Adjudication is on the spot, and you’ll get your decision there and then.

3. Documentation and Paperwork

The specific documentation required when relocating to the US depends on the chosen visa category. These would include a valid passport, certificates and qualifications, employment letter, etc. 

4. Financial and Tax Planning

Financial planning

moving to US from Canada financial and Tax Planning

Managing the cost of living in the US can be challenging. Individuals moving to US from Canada should research the cost of living in the US city they plan to live in and then create a comprehensive budget. This ensures that their resources can cover necessary expenses during the transition period.

Know that Canadians in the United States cannot pay their US bills in Canadian dollars. So, another important thing is to open a US bank account and set up a US-based credit card. This will facilitate financial transactions.

Tax planning

Any Canadian moving to the US should understand the tax implications of the move.

For example, Canadians leaving the country may pay a departure tax. Departure tax will not apply to individuals the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) still recognizes as Canadian residents while abroad. However, Canadian tax residency requires paying tax on income earned anywhere in the US. This situation can result in double taxation – paying income tax both in Canada and the US.

Thus, when planning Canada to US immigration, individuals should get familiar with tax treaties between the US and Canada aimed at reducing double taxation. They should also seek advice from tax professionals about the impact of the relocation on tax preparation.

5. Finding Accommodation

Canadians moving to the US may be unsure about long-term housing needs

Canadians moving to the US may be unsure about long-term housing needs. So, it is wise to start with temporary housing, such as extended hotel stays or short-term rentals. They should research local temporary accommodation options and book one before arriving in the US.

Consider engaging a local real estate agent. These agents provide valuable insights into the local rental market and help with finding suitable rental accommodation.

6. Healthcare and Insurance

Healthcare and Insurance a key consideration when moving from Canada to the US.

Maintaining well-being should be a key consideration when moving from Canada to the US.

Know that anyone making the move will need to navigate a new healthcare and health insurance system. So, the first step in well-being consideration when transitioning to life in the US is getting familiar with the US healthcare system.

Know how the healthcare system works, get a new healthcare provider, and transfer your medical records to the new provider.

Canadian expats relocating to the US should check whether their US employer provides health insurance as part of their benefits package. If not, they should secure health insurance coverage.

7. Education and Employment

Canadian expats relocating to the US with school-age children should research the schools in the city they wish to settle in to find a suitable school to enroll their children in.

Important things to consider when researching schools include the quality of facilities, the curriculum and programs, transition support, safety measures in place, and availability of school transportation services.

After finding a suitable school, the next thing is understanding their enrollment process. Then, proceed to enroll the children. Individuals may need to obtain their children’s academic records and transcripts from their Canadian school and forward these to the chosen US school.

8. Cultural Adaptation

Canada and the US are near neighbors. But people who move from Canada to the US soon realize they have entered a new cultural environment.

To settle quickly in the US, Canadian expats who relocate there should incorporate the new cultural elements into their mindset. To do this:

  • Be open-minded and receptive to new experiences. Individuals should be willing to learn and adopt new cultural practices.
  • Observe and adhere to social customs and appropriate behavior in various contexts. Adhering to social norms (like acceptable greetings, etc.) can help Canadian expats in the US to navigate social situations.
  • Adapting to language nuances and communication styles. Yes, Canada and the US use the English Language. However, there are differences in expressions and communication norms. Adapting to these will facilitate settling in the US.

9. Staying Connected

Good relationships are crucial to settling in any place. So, Canadian expats who relocate to the US and want to settle quickly should maintain ties with friends at home and make new ones in the US.

So, stay connected by:

  • Constantly reaching out to family and friends.
  • Prioritizing making new friends.
  • Joining expatriate communities.
  • Participating in community activities and events.


Relocating to the USA from Canada can be challenging. Thankfully, the tips above can make it less challenging for Canadian expatriates planning to make the move down south to the land of the stars and stripes.

When coming to the US for work, tips for a successful move include securing a US job, choosing a suitable visa category, gathering relevant documents and applying for the visa, understanding the cost of living in the US and creating a budget, finding accommodation for the transition period, getting familiar with the US health system, adapting to cultural practices, and staying connected with friends and family.

To make your Canada to US immigration as smooth as possible, seek the advice of the best consultants in the business. Book a consultation with TN Visa Expert today!

FAQs about Moving From Canada to the US

What are the key considerations for Canadians moving to the USA?

The foremost consideration is how to move to the US from Canada (that is, the best visa option for making the move). The TN Visa is the most popular choice for Canadians moving to the USA for work, as it is the easiest and fastest to obtain.

How can I ensure a smooth transition regarding immigration and visa procedures?

For a seamless visa application process when moving from Canada to US, opt for the TN visa, secure a US job that meets the NAFTA requirements, get a letter from the US employer, gather all other necessary documents, and prepare to answer the questions the adjudicating officer will ask at the Port of Entry. The TN Visa Lawyer can provide guidance for a seamless Canada to US immigration process.

What are the financial and tax implications of moving from Canada to the USA?

The financial implications of moving from Canada to US vary, depending on factors like the individual’s visa category and preference for transportation and accommodation. One of the cheapest options is using the TN Visa and applying at a Port of Entry. The visa application will cost only $56. Other costs include transportation to the US and the daily expenses of living in the US.

Where can I find resources for locating accommodation in the USA?

There are various online resources for finding accommodation in the USA. These include Zillow, Craiglist, and For offline options, individuals can use real estate agents or ask their employers whether they offer any assistance or resources for finding accommodation.

What healthcare and insurance options should I explore as a Canadian expat in the USA?

The first option is employer-sponsored health insurance. As a Canadian expat in the US, check whether your employer offers health insurance coverage as part of your benefits package. If not, you may use the Health Insurance Marketplace (Obamacare) or consider purchasing private health insurance from insurance providers. 

How can I ensure my children receive a good education in the USA after moving?

To ensure your children who move with you to the US receive a good education, research the schools in the city you will settle in and enroll them in a suitable school. When doing your research, look at the school amenities, curriculum and programs, transition support offered, and more.

What cultural differences should I be aware of when relocating from Canada to the USA?

There are several cultural differences between Canada and the US. When relocating from Canada to the US for work, some cultural differences to be aware of are:

  • Canada uses the metric system of measurement, while the US uses the imperial system.
  • Canadian workers are entitled to paid vacation time, but the US does not legally require employers to offer paid vacation time.
  • Canadians are generally more welcoming and courteous than people in the US.

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